‘Pakistan tennis suffering because of cricket board’

July 23rd, 2010 - 11:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Davis Cup Karachi, July 23 (IANS) A senior tennis official has demanded that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) bail the country’s tennis federation out of a serious financial crisis.

Khawaja Saeed Hai, Pakistan’s tennis legend, wants the country’s cricket chiefs to “compensate other sports”, stressing that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) should take the responsibility for making the country a no-go zone for visiting sportspersons.

“It’s because of the PCB that other sports like tennis are suffering greatly in our country,” Hai told The News in an interview.

Hai, a senior vice president of the Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF), said the terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore in March 2009 has proved to be a fatal blow for sports in Pakistan.

“It’s because of the cricket board’s failure to ensure fool-proof security to Sri Lankan cricketers that foreign sportsmen have stopped coming to our country,” said Hai, one of the most successful tennis players produced by Pakistan.

“PCB officials promised best possible security for the Sri Lankan team but all their promises proved to be hollow. It’s because of them that other sports like tennis are in a terrible shape in Pakistan.”

Foreign teams have refused to come to Pakistan after the Lahore incident that left five people dead and several Sri Lankan players injured.

Hai, who featured in the main draw of three successive Wimbledon championships from 1954 through 1956 and also reached the third round of French Open, said that tennis is the worst hit of all the sports.

“Before (the Lahore incident) things were looking good for Pakistan tennis. But now things are really looking bleak because foreign teams are not ready to visit Pakistan any more.”

Because of the security issue, Pakistan have been forced to give up their hosting rights in three consecutive Davis Cup events in the recent past. They were forced to travel to New Zealand and play their ‘home’ tie there earlier this month and lost 2-3 in the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone semifinals.

“We could have won easily had the tie been held in Lahore,” said Hai, Pakistan’s chief selector.

Hai said that the PTF) has almost gone bankrupt because of the scrapping of home Davis Cup ties. “The PTF has to spend millions on sending its Davis Cup teams abroad while in the past it used to make big profits by hosting such matches at home.

“I would ask the PCB chiefs to compensate the PTF by providing it monetary assistance so that Pakistan tennis can stay afloat.”

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