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Ushna urges PTF to create more opportunities for female players

Ushna urges PTF to create more opportunities for female players

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s world ranking holder female tennis player Ushna Suhail urged the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) to bridge gap with International Tennis Federation (ITF) to ensure maximum international events to be held in Pakistan.

Talking to The Nation, Ushna said: “We have immense amount of female talent. I agree there are very few females at national circuit, but it was due to lack of interest from the PTF. If they provide opportunities, arrange tournaments, send females abroad, create sponsorships and jobs for them, female player will start flourishing at national and international level.

“We have very few females at national level, but all of them are quite good and despite having limited opportunities, they are not lesser than any given player. We lack in exposure, if we agree with federation’s theory that government is not inducting enough money to other sports, then like Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), they should work devotedly to take on board private sponsors. I am sure multinationals are more than willing to invest in this sport, as tennis is hugely watched and followed in Pakistan and there is a huge potential in tennis market,” she added.

Ushna said her parents heavily invested in her, while some private sponsors also helped her a great deal. “I can feel others can also follow the same and get private sponsorships to continue travelling abroad for training and taking part in international events. Without playing in ITF features and other major tournaments, no one can even think about doing well.

“The federation must create that environment where girls and especially their parents feel relaxed. The PTF should start training programmes at grassroots level and invite top female players for lectures and interaction with fresh players. I am ready to help out the federation if they need my help. Without investing, no one can produce champions, winning at national level is something different than winning abroad,” she added.

Ushna said Pakistan has been facing international sporting isolation and that’s why female players are not coming the way, they must be. “The PTF’s comprehensive plan of Davis Cup tie against Iran was bench mark, the way people turned up in numbers and the national broadcaster telecast the event live, it showed and proved that people in Pakistan love tennis.

“It was a huge setback for tennis in Pakistan when Hong Kong refused to play Davis Cup, hopefully, the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group-II final will be held in Pakistan. For that, the PTF should arrange the ITF delegation security team’s visit and take them to the parts where the tie would likely take place. Pakistan is as peaceful as any other country but we need to show the real actual sports-loving face of country to international sports governing bodies, as it will really help to promote tennis in Pakistan,” she added.

“The PTF has long promised to lay down courts at Nishtar Park Complex, but only one court was completed after a lapse of several years, which is not even good enough for practice. How could international events played on a single court. The federation should start work on that project on war-footings and at least 5 more courts should be prepared so more and more players take advantage and start tennis as professional careers. Without jobs and round the year tournaments, it is almost impossible to earn bread and butter for families. I hope Salim Saifullah Khan will pay heed to my suggestions and soon we will see quality female players applying their trade,” Ushna concluded.

The Nation

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