(By Raja Ibrar)Tennis – There’s a controversy brewing in Pakistani tennis circles and Davis Cup player Samir Iftikhar is in the midst of it.
Tennis – Father appeals to Prime Minister to come forward to prevent his son´s talent from getting wasted
21 year old Iftikhar is currently competing in the US NCAA Division I tennis circuit but his future as part of the Pakistan Davis Cup team remains uncertain.
Speaking to the Pakistani media outlet The Nation, Tayyab Iftikhar, Samir’s father, commented, “I am really pleased with the manifold raise in his rankings which only proves to the PTF and people who have some knowledge of tennis that ranking and his results prove that Samir is playing world class tennis and that they must own this boy and help him groom with further exposure to the ITF futures tennis circuit. I don’t have financial resources like Aisamul Haq and have put in everything I had in my son to bring him to this level and after seeing the sorry affairs of the PTF where they intentionally ignored Samir who was ready to serve his adopted country and travel on other side of globe for representing Pakistan in Davis Cup tie Against Vietnam and instead included a player who will be passenger in the time and have lost to much lower-ranked local players. I am afraid that all my hard work will go in vain. It is my humble appeal to Prime Minister and Punjab CM to come forward and save my unprivileged son and his huge talent is getting wasted in dirty politics and proper steps should be taken immediately so that he could bring laurels for the country.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tennis Federation president Dr Syed Kaleem Imam, also speaking to The Nation, commented, “I can take into account of once again taking risk in Samir’s case, as he brought bad name for the country, while last time he refused to play Davis Cup match against South Korea and walked out just before the start of the fixture. I have tried my level best to convince Aisam to play the Davis Cup tie against Vietnam, but he preferred international commitments ahead rather than putting country on top priority. I have accepted my fault of not taking Aisam into confidence before rescheduling the Davis Cup tie, but one has to keep in mind, we can’t turn down international bodies’ request easily. Anyhow if someone gives assurance that Samir will not be involved in politics and will be ready to take permission from University of New Mexico (UNM) to play Davis Cup tie, I am ready to bear not only boarding lodging expenses, but also provide him best possible facilities,”