Aisam ul-Qureshi, Pakistan’s most successful tennis player, does not play singles on the ATP Tour, but when national duty demands it, he willingly takes up the responsibility, and the Indian team might have to contend with him on the opening day of the Davis Cup World Group I tie, starting Saturday.
The opening day of the tie will feature in two singles, and Aisam could play in one of those against either Ramkumar Ramanathan or N Sriram Balaji, who will most likely play on Saturday.
Aisam, 43, had even played against Indonesia in the home grass court tie in September 2023. He also did the singles duty against Lithuania (2022), Japan (2021) and Slovenia (2020).
“I have always considered myself to play singles, but I don’t do it every single time. I am preparing for everything, singles and doubles, and the same goes for everyone in the team. We will see. We have one more day of training,” Aisam told PTI.
Aisam has 41-22 win-loss record in singles in 48 matches he has played in 44 nominations.
Former Davis Cup captain Hameed ul Haq also reckons that if Aisam and veteran Aqeel Khan play the singles, the tie won’t be a lop-sided affair.
“We have got some good results on grass but the Indian team is also very good on this surface. They know what is required. I feel India have better chances to win this tie but since Pakistan has two very experienced players in Aqeel Khan and Aisam ul haq Qureshi, if they play singles then the contest will be tight,” he said.
For the second consecutive day, persistent drizzle disrupted Pakistan Davis Cup team’s practice session, while the Indians were also forced to stay indoors on Wednesday.
On Tuesday also, when the Indian team was nearing the end of its three-hour session, heavens opened up, forcing an early closure of their session.
Aisam said not getting to hit for two days in a row, indeed affects the preparations.
“Definitely, these things affect the preparations. At the end of the day, these things are not in our control. We need to focus on things we can control and prepare in best way possible. I am sure Indian team’s training has also been affected but it is what it is,” said world number 154 Aisam, who was a top-10 player in doubles in 2011.
“Hopefully, the weather will be good on Saturday and Sunday so we can have a wonderful tie, Insha-allah,” he added. Pakistan captain Mohammed Abid…