rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Stop War, Start Tennis: The mantra of Indo-Pak Express

Stop War, Start Tennis: The mantra of Indo-Pak Express

Last updated on: September 9, 2010 12:14 IST

Stop War, Start Tennis: The mantra of Indo-Pak Express

     Next

Next

Flood-ravaged and shamed by a betting scam involving its cricketers, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi knows Pakistan has little to cheer about right now but he is confident of changing the mood back home for the better by lifting the US Open men's doubles trophy with Indian partner Rohan Bopanna.

"I can't thank Rohan enough to be my partner and playing with me. I really feel very lucky to have a partner like him and a friend like him. Pakistan has been going through a lot for the last two or three years from all the terrorist attacks  and the flooding now for the last few months and the cricket scandal, also," Qureshi said after he and Bopanna entered the finals of the season's last Grand Slam where they will take on top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan.

Bopanna and Qureshi, play wearing T-shirts with the message 'Stop War, Start Tennis', and the Pakistani said becoming a part of the movement has changed their lives. 

"I think what changed both our careers was when we became ambassadors of peace, by peace in sports. The first time we initiated our campaign about Stop War and Start Tennis, I think that was the main week I think everybody started to taking notice of it," Qureshi said.


Image: India's Rohan Bopanna and partner Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi
Photographs: Reuters
     Next

'I am happy I can send positive news back home'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Qureshi is also in the mixed doubles final with Czech partner Kveta Peschke and he is hoping to lift both the the  titles.

"I'm just very happy and proud that I can send positive news back home and good news for people to cheer about. It's just been an unbelievable journey, and I just hope I keep winning matches for Pakistan and can hopefully get either one of these titles or both titles back home. That would be great thing," he said.

The pair, nicknamed 'The Indo-Pak Express', were cheered by the UN ambassadors from their countries during the 7-6 (5), 6-4 semifinal win over Argentines Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos.

Both the players said they were glad to have the two dignitaries applauding them in the stands. "...we are really glad that they came out and watched us play. It was pretty hard out there to come on them. We met them after our match, so, you know, really thankful to them that they came out, took some time and came out to watch us play today," he said.


Image: Bopanna and Qureshi

Prev     Next

'Bopanna helps me promote tennis in Pakistan'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Qureshi thanked Bopanna for helping him promote the game in his trouble-torn country.

"I think people have realised that Rohan is helping me promote this game in Pakistan.

"So far everybody has been appreciating what we are doing. He probably doesn't know, but he's very, very popular in Pakistan. Every time my news come, his name is right there next to me.

"So he's helping me to promote this game in Pakistan, and I just can't thank him enough for doing that," he said.


Image: Bopanna and Qureshi

Prev     Next

To Pakistan, with love

Prev     More
Prev

More

Qureshi said after winning the title, he he also hopes to clear some "misconceptions" about Muslims in America.

"I do want to say a few words, and hopefully I get a chance and opportunity. I feel like the western world and America, they have a very wrong perception about Muslim and Pakistan. We do have terrorist groups, we do have extremists, but I feel like every religion there are extremists there. You know, it doesn't mean that the whole nation is terrorist or extremist," he said.

"Pakistan is a very peace loving country. Everybody loves sports. I think everybody wants peace, as well. The only reason we actually getting so many terrorist attacks is because we are allies with America and the western world in fighting this cause. I want to let them know also that their perception of Pakistanis being a terrorist country is definitely very, very wrong," he added.


Image: Bopanna and Qureshi

Prev     More