Pakistan’s involvement in the tennis event of the 18th Asian Games gone only two days into the tournament — just in time for the whole of the squad to spend Eid-ul-Azha at home with their families.
The country was represented by four men and as many women players who travelled to the Indonesian city of Palembang without a captain or coach.
They presented in men’s singles and doubles , women’s singles and doubles and mixed doubles. And all they could attain was just two wins in 12 matches overall.
This should be a point of concern for PTF President Salim Saifullah Khan, who has done many good things for Pakistan tennis to stand on its feet and be counted among the leading groups of Asia.
However , some judgments by the PTF about Pakistan team’s involvement in the Asian Games have to be questioned .
Both the men’s and women’s teams were named without having trials. The players have to gather their places on the national team sheet, and whoever executes better in trials should get picked. How does one judge the form, fitness and mental readiness of a player without observing them compete against each other
Shahzad Khan had received two doubles titles in three Futures tournaments kept in Pakistan, but he was not named in the squad. He should have a minimum of been given an opportunity to prove himself in trials.
Occurrence of a technical mind with the players is also of utmost significance. But somehow, the decision-makers thought that a coach or a non-playing captain would not be of any use in the Asian Games.
Aqeel, subsequently, was made the playing captain. This naturally put magnify burden on Pakistan’s top player who should have been permitted to focus on his personal performance alone.
We have heard the old adage ‘winning and losing are part of the game’ on a lot of events. And it’s true. But the manner in which you lose also counts. If one suffers through the results one can see that barring two or three matches, Pakistan players bowed out of the tournament without displaying much of a fight. This should also get worried the tennis federation.
A consistence and long lasting programme for young, budding players is now getting absolutely imperative for Pakistan. We cannot just be presenting in international tournaments to be mentioned as ‘also-rans’. We have to produce players who can compete and win?