ISLAMABAD     -   Pakistan’s international tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi has expressed his happiness and excitement on India’s confirmation to send their team here for the Asia-Oceania Davis Cup Group-I tie, which is scheduled to be held here at Pakistan Sports Complex from November 29 to 30.

Talking to The Nation from Paris on Monday, Aisam said: “India is coming to play in Pakistan and I think it will be beneficial for the green land and game. Obviously, I am not only pumped up, but looking forward to face India and play key role in helping Pakistan perform well in the tie. The Indians’ arrival will send a very positive message to international community, which will realise that Pakistanis are peaceful and sports-loving people.

“The visitors will enjoy our hospitality, as they will interact with players and Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) officials. Despite the brutalities happening in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), they must keep politics far away from sports as it is the only way to bridge the gap between the two neighbouring countries. I am taking good care of my body to stay fit and working very hard on my training.”

Aisam said: “The Indian Tennis Federation had revised their squad from players to touring party, as Mahesh Bhupathi was replaced with experienced Leander Paes, who had won countless titles for India as a non-playing captain, which is a highly tactical move on their part. Sunder Narayan Iyer will manage, while Syed Zeeshan Ali will coach the visiting side. Anand Kumar (physio), Saketh Sai Myneni (player), Suresh Kumar Manish (player), Rawat Sidharth (player), Arjun Jayant Kadhe (player), Sri Ram Balaji (player), Sasikumar Mukund (player) and Lakshmi Anumolu will accompany the Indian delegation.

“There is no doubt that Indians are very strong and competitive, as they enjoy higher rankings than Pakistani players. But we had played and beaten much experienced and higher ranked teams in the past. That is why we are more than capable of doing this again,” he added.

The Pakistan’s tennis ace said: “I am already playing in extra tournaments to keep my fitness level sharp. As the dates are now confirmed, I will start extra trainings to take care of my health. It is a fact that the national players have not played any mega tournament since long. When the PTF was aware that the Indians players are not coming in September, they must have arranged some tournaments to keep the players fit and motivated. Davis Cup is like a world cup of tennis and it is not an easy task, even if it is played against a weaker opponent.

“I think the players, who have played on grass courts, will be part of Pakistan team for the tie. I hope the PTF will arrange few tournaments prior to start of the tie, as these tournaments will give huge confidence to the players. Pakistani players will not be able to transform them and come at required level without playing competitive matches. I am anxiously waiting for the time to come, as we will try hard to raise the green flag high by beating Indians at our own backyard. I am sure tennis lovers will come in huge numbers to support us and we will live up to the nation’s hopes and provide them joy,” Aisam concluded.