We at Social Diary got a chance to speak to the very hardworking tennis player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi. Let’s have a look what he had to say to us…
- Briefly tell our readers about your professional journey?
Tennis has been a family sport, my grandfather Khawaja Iftikhar Ahmed was All India Number 1 before partition. My Mother Naushen Ehtisham was Pakistan’s no. 1 National Champion for ten years in a row. It was a family game, I started because of my Mother at the age of 13, she took me to the tennis courts during summer holiday’s and I guess it was in my genes and blood that I picked it up quickly, the game just came really easy to me and that was when I started playing tennis. I played my first Intl. tournament at the age of 15 in Syria, I made it to the semi-finals where my International ranking became 1000 something at that time, my father got really interested that I got Intl. ranking and that was the time when I got in the International Tennis Federation Team. I travelled all over the world with 3 coaches and ten boys and girls from different parts of the world. Did really well and finished the year in 1998 became world’s no 6 and Asia’s no 1 in tennis and that was the time when my coach & my father decided that I should turn pro and that’s how it all started rest is history. Been really happy and proud that I have able to present my country for so many years because as a kid you always want to do something that would make your parents and your country proud and I think tennis gave me the opportunity to do so.
- How was the experience of playing with Indian partner Rohan Bopanna?
It’s been a great experience playing with him. Unfortunately there were not any Pakistani players on the tour playing with an Indian that time seemed pretty natural to me especially Rohan, we had played a lot of junior tournaments together. I have always gotten along with Indian players because of the language and culture as we have few things which are very common. We both did really well and gave a very positive message across the border that we should not be mixing religion with sports or culture, and first we should see the person as a human being first. Hopefully I will get to play with him again in the near future. I got an Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award as well because of playing with Rohan in 2007. I can very proudly say that I am the only player and Muslim to be awarded it twice so that was a very proud moment for me.
- How is your normal day routine like?
Well it depends on whether I am training or not, or if I have a match or not, it keeps on varying, normally when I am home and training I am up maximum by 07:00 in the morning, go to the gym, come back then have some breakfast, and then practice tennis around 10-12 in the afternoon. After that get some lunch and go to the gym again around from 4-6 and spend the evening mostly with the family, friends, cousins or friends. On the training days I am in the bed by maximum 10:30 or 11:00. On the days off I spend a lot of time with family, friends and relax a lot. I go out for movies, spend a lot of time with my nephews, I go to watch their football games and practices. During the matches it’s all according to the schedule, and then I am all about early to bed & early to rise, eating well.
- Do you think that Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has any role in what you have achieved so far professionally?
Unfortunately Pakistan Tennis Federation has never been involved in my tennis career, they never really helped me with anything. So definitely won’t be giving them any credit about my career. The new federation though is doing a lot for the tennis and are on the right track. I really hope they can do a lot more to promote the game so there can be more Aisam-ul-Haq Quraishi’s representing Pakistan and bringing honor to the country.
- Do you have any hopes regarding this sport in Pakistan?
Definitely high hopes. I see a lot of talent here with the new Federation hopefully with joint efforts with the Government will take more initiatives to promote this game to help the youngsters and the present players as well to promote this game more and more in our country.
- What makes you admire women the most?
Well I have a sister and a mother so have a lot of respect for women all over the world. What I admire the most in them is that they are very passionate when it comes to loving or caring for someone or something. In average women are more trustworthy than men are. I also admire them because of the sacrifices they make by giving up on their dreams to put their family first. So, a lot of reason to admire them.
- If you had to pick three things from a grocery store, what would you take?
Mmmm well if its regarding food then oatmeal, eggs and coffee. If it’s something to do with hygiene then shower gel, deodorant & toothpaste I guess.
- What’s the best advice given to you by someone?
We should count our blessing and stay humble always.
- You recently walked the ramp for your sister Shiza Hassan’s collection, how was the experience?
Walking on the ramp was a good and fun experience something obviously I am not used to but I am super super proud of her and her designs. Got a really good feedback from the media so overall it was a fun experience for me.
- Do you see any possibility of teaming up with Sania Mirza?
Mmmm am not too sure if it will happen but at the same time am not denying it, you never know, maybe the circumstance will come around and we will get to play together. It would be really great for tennis fans in India & Pakistan.
- Who do you look up to in your life?
I look up to my Dad, if I can be half the person my Dad is I think I will be very happy & a satisfied man.
- Is there any song that has been stuck in your mind for a long time now?
Adat by Atif Aslam and Sun Raha Hai Na Tun from Aashiqui 2 are the ones I keep humming a lot and really like them.
- What’s your motto of life?
Never giving up on my goals and dreams and doing everything in power to achieve them.
- Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
As a family man with some kids, raising them, spending time with them that’s how I see myself in 5 years time and not really sure if I will be playing tennis or not, I fell I do have three to four years left in me, hopefully the best ones In’shaa’ALLAH.
- What do you plan on doing once you retire from tennis?
There are a lot of opportunities here in Pakistan a lot to do with media, commentary and stuff. Hopefully In’shaa’ALLAH I will be running a tennis academy, and have got my charity will make efforts to grow it. I am a good will ambassador to the U.N and UNICEF and WWF so hopefully will be collaborating with them. Might do some business on side. So looks like I will have a lot of opportunities once am done with tennis, will be looking forward to it. Though not just yet as I still have a few goals to achieve in tennis.
- A few words for your fans out there….
Thank you so much for staying by my side, for believing in me, for praying and yeah for being there for me for all the ups and downs and not giving up on me. At the end of the day appreciate the green passport and be thankful for the freedom we have, wherever you go feel a proud Pakistani and I am doing my best in my power to do so.
- Nutella or Peanut Butter?
- Who was the last person you got a text from? My partner about practicing schedule.
- Last book you read? The greatest sales man in the world.
- Your all time celebrity crush? Monica Bellucci.
- You favorite TV series of all time? R.I.E.N.D.S.
- You biggest fear? To jeopardize the reputation of my family and country.
- Biggest wish? To perform Hajj & win Grand Slam.
- You spend more of your money on? On my loved ones, getting gifts for my family.
- Favorite perfume? The One by Dolce & Gabbana.
- Morning person or a night owl? In general Night Person but when I’m training then a morning person.
- Favorite pizza topping? Mushroom & Pineapple with any kind of chicken.
- Tennis for you is?
- Your favorite city in Pakistan? Lahore – Jisnay Lahore nahi dekha usnay kuch nahi dekha.
- Ideal breakfast menu? Lahori Breakfast (Halwa Puri, Paratha Chanay, Nihari with a glass of lassi).
- How much time do you spend on social media? I like to check fb, insta & twitter not too crazy though.