Aqeel thrilled at coaching stint with SL Davis Cuppers
KARACHI: Country’s ace tennis player Aqeel Khan has termed his maiden 15-day coaching stint with the Sri Lankan Davis Cup team in Colombo as ‘fruitful’ in terms of imparting training besides preparing himself for Pakistan’s next month tie against South Korea.
“The Sri Lankan Tennis Federation was so satisfied with my performance that they have offered another three months contract to groom their juniors,” Aqeel, who returned from Colombo the other day, told Dawn.
Aqeel added that he would consider the lucrative Lankan offer after Pakistan’s Asia Oceania zone group two Davis Cup second round tie against South Korea slated from July 8 to 10. The time would have gone wasted had he not taken up the assignment, he stated.
Aqeel, 31, said he would travel to Islamabad on Saturday to join the camp in preparation for the away encounter. Pakistan won 3-2 against Hong Kong in the first round.
“The Koreans will have home advantage and tough to beat on their soil on synthetic hard courts,” he said, adding that Pakistan last beat South Korea in 2003 at Lahore.
Continuing, he said, Aisam-ul-Haq will come to Korea directly after playing Wimbledon and will take sometime to adjust in different conditions. He regretted that contrary to other nations, Pakistan doesn’t have strong backup players who can deliver when required.
“We (Aisam and Aqeel) have carried the team to World Group (once) and group one (thrice) during the last 12 years,” he remarked.
Refuting allegations of PTF spokesperson that he (Aqeel) had breached the code of conduct while visiting abroad without informing the federation, he said: “I have signed no central contract with the PTF and am free to travel. Did the PTF spokesperson ask Aisam’s schedule or take action against Samir Iftikhar for not attending Birbal’s training camp?”
With over 100 titles under his belt, Aqeel said he had always turned down coaching offers in the past as he feel pride in playing for the nation. “My age is catching up fast and unfortunately I don’t own a house after playing for well over a decade for the nation for peanuts,” he concluded.