Pakistan's top tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi says he thought beating Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer in doubles would garner him attention and fame back home in his country but it was not the case.
Aisam Qureshi on beating Roger Federer in doubles
Qureshi was speaking with Dan Kernan on the podcast 'Control the Controllables' where he spoke about beating Federer in doubles at the Swiss Indoors in Basel in 2009.
Qureshi partnered with Jamie Cerretani to defeat Federer and Marco Chiudinelli in straight sets at that tournament. Qureshi says, "In 2007, I qualified for the main draw of Wimbledon men's singles, where I won the first round.
I was the first player from Pakistan in 50 years to have qualified for a Grand Slam. In 2009, I ended up beating Roger Federer in doubles in Basel. And I thought, this was a big thing to do in tennis and I would be recognized back home.
But that wasn't the case." Qureshi says that he finally earned the recognition in his native country only when he reached the final of the 2010 US Open doubles event. "When I made USO 2010 finals, I was finally recognized not only in the world of tennis, but Pakistan as well!
People know the likes of Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and Jahangir Khan. I wanted my name to come with them when people talked about tennis. I have responsibility to be a role model in my country, to be a door opener. I don't see myself like Roger Federer in Switzerland, but I want to motivate the kids in my country to make a career out of tennis, just like Federer did."
Aisam Qureshi is a former Top 10 doubles player and his highest singles ranking has been No. 125 in the world. He is the only Pakistani tennis player to reach the final of a Grand Slam, which he did in 2010, competing in both mixed doubles (partnering with Kveta Peschke) and men's doubles (partnering with Rohan Bopanna) at the US Open.
He has won the most Davis Cup matches for Pakistan, being the most successful singles and doubles player from his country ever. He is also part of the most successful doubles pairing for Pakistan (with Aqeel Khan) in the country's sporting history.