Pakistan is to host their first Asian Tennis Tour (ATT) from October 23 to 30 in Islamabad, but, it will not feature any international player. Two Indians and a Bangladeshi player were supposed to participate in the event, but, they have withdrawn from the tournament.
The political rift between the neighbours has become the cause of their withdrawal from the Asian Tennis Federation’s ATT. It will prove to be a setback in Pakistan Tennis Federation’s (PTF) efforts of hosting Davis Cup in their country. The hosting of ATT might have sent a positive image of Pakistan that the land is safe enough for international players.
Pakistan’s veteran tennis player, Aqeel Khan believes that it will be tough for Pakistan to convince international players to visit the country.
“The ATT will need time to become more popular,” Aqeel told Express Tribune. “It is an alternative circuit so most of the top players would go for tried and tested tournaments instead of the ATT. At least it is a good start for Pakistan. ATT began this year and in the previous editions of these events, in Thailand for example, there were all local players.”
On the other hand, the ATT Tour Federal Cup tournament director Muhammad Khalil Chughtai stated, “It is a setback, but in the current political scenario, Indian’s don’t want to take the risk.”
“Bangladesh also backed away because regionally they are aligning with India. However, we are hoping for things to change by December,” he added.
The ATT has a total prize money of $5,000. The winner will get 12 points $900, while the runner up will receive 7 points and $600.