Whist the world
is boycotting israel, a Pakistani tennis player teams up with an
israeli and asks what all the fuss is about when his countrymen
condemn his action!
condemn Israeli tennis link
BBC Sports News
29 June, 2002
Pakistan's Aisamul Haq Qureshi has been condemned by his country's
sports officials for partnering an Israeli at Wimbledon.
Qureshi has teamed up with Amir Hadad and together they upset 11th
seed Rick Leech and Ellis Ferreira on Friday to make it to the third
round of the men's doubles.
Qureshi, a 22-year-old Muslim, created history with the help of
Jewish Hadad by becoming the first Pakistani player to reach the
third round of a Grand Slam event.
But instead of being celebrated back in his home country, officials
are considering imposing a ban over his choice of partner.
"Although he is playing in his private capacity, we officially
condemn his playing with an Israeli player and an explanation has
been sought from him," said Pakistan Sports Board director
Brigadier Saulat Abbas.
"Since Pakistan has no links with Israel, Qureshi may face
Qureshi was unperturbed by the controversy and is hoping his decision
to leave politics on the sidelines will be seen in a positive light.
"I am surprised at the fuss being made over my partnership,"
he said. "I would like to be talked about for my tennis rather
"If we can change people's minds then that would be a good
Qureshi played a key role in Pakistan's Davis Cup semi-final win
over Taiwan in the Asia Oceania zone group II.
But his place in the team for their vital Davis Cup tie against
China in September has been thrown into doubt.
"When players compete on the professional circuit they are
not bound to national federations," Pakistan Tennis Federation
President Syed Dilawar Abbas said.
"But we have sought an explanation from him and if advised
by the government we may take action."
Saeed Hai, a former leading Pakistan player, also condemned his
actions in the light of the current relations between the two countries.
"Due to the bloodshed in the Middle East, Qureshi's pairing
with an Israeli player is wrong," he said.
But Pakistan's tennis captain Rasheed Malik spoke up in support
"We should appreciate his progress in an international event
rather than criticising it," Malik said.
"At times you have no option when it comes to choosing your
partner and what he has achieved should be appreciated."
The 24-year-old Hadad also remained defiant against any criticism
of their partnership.
"I don't care what people think about it," said the 24-year-old
"As long as we enjoy playing together we will continue. When
we agreed to get together it was all about doing well here, making
some money and improving our doubles ranking.
"If we win here then I would dedicate the victory to my family
and to peace.
"It would be good for those doubters to see that even though
we are from different religions it is possible for us to work together
and have some fun.
"A Jew and a Muslim playing together is not the end of the
world. We are all human beings. We have the same blood, the same
Qureshi shrugs off threat
July 2, 2002
Pakistani tennis player Aisum-ul-Haq Qureshi laughed off his governments
threats to investigate his pairing with Israels Amir Hadad
at the Wimbledon championships.
Reacting to news that Sports Minister S.K Tressler would look into
the politically contentious pairing that reached the third round,
I think if they (Pakistan) want to qualify for group one
(Davis Cup) then Ill have to play. Ill be there to play.
Its going to be okay, Qureshi told Reuters after he
and Hadad lost 6-1, 7-6, 6-4 to seventh seeds Martin Damm and Cyril
Suk of the Czech Republic.
I dont know whats happening. No one has contacted
me at all.
Some people have said positive things. Some people have said
negative things. But I think its going to be okay. I have
a good relationship with them.
Qureshis pairing with Hadad has drawn sharp reaction from
the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) which has threatened to ban the
The government will definitely approach this issue.
As we dont have diplomatic relations with Israel, we
dont recognise it, Tressler told Reuters earlier.
But it would be premature to say what we can do. All I can
say is that Aisams decision to play with an Israeli was not
Qureshi, 22, has been Pakistans best player for the last
two years, playing a key role in their recent Davis Cup semi-final
win over Taiwan in the Asia Oceania group 11.
Tennis Federation Warns Pakistan Against Reprisals
By: Steve Wilstein
July 6, 2002
The warning to Pakistan from the International Tennis Federation
came wrapped in diplomatic language. The message was as blunt as
an overhead smash: Back off. Pakistan's threats to punish its No.
1 player, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, for playing doubles at Wimbledon
with Israel's Amir Hadad were met Wednesday with a carefully crafted
"reminder," as an ITF spokeswoman put it, of the federation's
constitution. Discrimination won't be tolerated. Not on political
grounds. Not on religious grounds.
The ITF warning came in a statement released to The Associated Press
that suggested Pakistan could jeopardize its federation membership
if it barred Qureshi from its Davis Cup team when it plays China
in September. "The ITF understands the political sensitivity
of this issue," the statement said. "But, as Davis Cup
was founded with the aim of furthering international understanding
through sport, we hope that the Pakistan Tennis Federation will
choose Mr. Qureshi to participate in Davis Cup so long as his abilities
warrant selection." It's a sure sign of the lunacy of the world
when governments get hysterical about the dangers of men in white
shorts hitting a ball over the net.
A Muslim and a Jew playing together? Frightful.
Instead of celebrating the success of Qureshi and Hadad, two fringe
players who befriended each other scuttling around the tour and
got to the third round at Wimbledon, the head of tennis in Pakistan
denounced the pairing and demanded an explanation from Qureshi for
his decision. Qureshi went further in a Grand Slam event than any
Pakistani player in history, yet the Pakistan Sports Board is talking
about suspending him. "We hope and expect that he would not
repeat this mistake in future," Syed Dilawar Abbas, president
of the Pakistan Tennis Federation, said in Karachi.
Abbas added that Qureshi had not obtained permission from his country's
federation to play with an Israeli. Wimbledon is not Davis Cup and
it's not the Olympics. Players compete here for prize money, titles
and precious ranking points more than they do for national glory.
Qureshi's family lives in Lahore, but he practices in Amsterdam
with a Dutch coach and wanders the world like the rest of his nomadic
tennis brethren. Pakistan's officials are agitated because the country
doesn't recognize the state of Israel. But if Qureshi is barred
from playing with an Israeli, should he also be barred from playing
against one since that also might be tantamount to recognition of
Israel and contradict Pakistan's foreign policy?
For that matter, should Qureshi be barred from doubling up with
an Indian player because that could offend people on both sides
of the nervous border back home and contribute to the threat of
nuclear war? Pakistan, wedged between India and Afghanistan, is
surely faced with many serious political issues. There's no reason
for its leaders in government or sports to elevate Qureshi's choice
of a tennis partner to an international incident.
All the fuss has left Qureshi understandably perplexed and "a
bit shocked." His mother, Nosheen, the former No. 1 woman player
in Pakistan, and his father, Ihtshan, a businessman, were with him
at Wimbledon, videotaping the match and sharing his joy. Like him,
they saw nothing wrong with the partnership between their son and
Hadad. "I never thought it was going to become such a big thing,"
said the 22-year-old Qureshi. "We're not here to change anythingpoliticians
and governments do that. "I am not a political person. I don't
like politics, actually. (Hadad) never talks to me about it."
Hadad, 24, of Ramla, Israel, near Tel Aviv, said he chose to play
with Qureshi for pragmatic, not political, reasons. "I know
Aisam is very good on grass, has a good serve, good volley,"
Hadad said. "I pick him up only because of his talent and his
skills in tennis. And I also like him as a person. It's always fun
to be with somebody that you like on the court. We have fun together
and that's it." If the politicians leave them alone, Qureshi
and Hadad plan to play together again in the U.S. Open.
"It's the first time I've made it to the main draw of a Grand
Slam with him," Qureshi said. "I wouldn't mind, for sure.
I don't like to interfere religion or politics into sport."
Hadad agreed. "We are good friends," he said, "and
I think we're going to keep playing together in the future."