KARACHI: The Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) is hoping for a better result at the upcoming Fed Cup Group II competition, for which trials are set to kick off on June 28.
According to PTF secretary Khalid Rehmani, the trials will feature seven of the top-ranked female players in the country, the best of whom will be chosen in the final squad.
While their male counterparts find themselves in the Asian-Oceania Zone Group II final of the Davis Cup, the women’s team has been languishing in the Group II of Fed Cup, finishing ninth out of 11 teams last year.
In order to improve on that performance, the PTF has organised four-day trials on hard courts under coach Inamul Haq.
“We need our female players to improve,” Rehmani told The Express Tribune. “They need to put in a greater effort as we are far behind other countries in women’s tennis. We have a policy of sending the team to tournaments regardless of the results as our players need exposure in order to improve.”
Rehmani pointed out that even at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Baku, Azerbaijan last month, the female players only managed to win one game in the entire competition — a clear indication that they have a long way to go before being competitive with others.
“Only Sarah Mahboob managed to win a game, while the rest couldn’t score any points at all,” said Rehmani. “The key for us is to give them opportunities to compete, and at the same time we also want more players to come forward as our talent pool is pretty limited.”
The trials will feature Ushna Suhail, Sara Mansoor, Mahin Aftab Qureshi, Sarah Mahboob Khan, Meheq Khokhar, Esha Jawad and Khunsha Babar.
Of the septet, Suhail plays International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments abroad, whereas the rest are mostly active on the local domestic circuit.
Mahin and Esha, per Rehmani, are up and coming talent, who he expects to emerge as replacements for top players Mansoor, Suhail and Mahboob in the future.
The Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group II features 14 countries — including Pakistan — divided into two pools of three and two pools of four.
The winners of each pool will clash in play-offs against each other, with the winners set to be rewarded with a promotion to Fed Cup Group I next year.