ISLAMABAD: Ace player Aqeel Khan has confirmed that he will play singles alongside youngster Mohammad Shoaib during the Davis Cup Group 1 play-off tie at the Indoor SEB Arena in Vilnius (Lithuania), on February 3-4, as the Pakistan Davis Cup team leaves for Lithuania.
Speaking to ‘The News’ before leaving for Turkey en route to Lithuania, the Pakistan No. 1 said he has reconsidered his decision not to play singles in the Davis Cup. “Due to the absence of Muzammil Murtaza, as the country needs my services, I have decided to reconsider my decision not to play Davis Cup singles. I will be available to play singles during the upcoming Davis Cup play-off tie against Lithuania. Now I will play singles with Shoaib on the opening day of the Davis Cup on February 3.
Aqeel said that Aisamul Haq will also be available. “If Aisam is needed for the reverse singles on the second day, he will be available. But on the opening day, we are going to play singles.
Along with Aqeel, Shoaib, Mohammad Abid and Bilal Asem also left for Turkey from Islamabad. Aisamul Haq, who plays captain along with the team, will fly directly from Lahore to join the team in Turkey.
Aisam arrived in Lahore the next day after losing in the third round of the Australian Open doubles. “On the second day, Aisam will be my doubles partner,” said Aqeel.
Speaking about the team’s prospects, he said: “Lithuania has got some internationally ranked players, including world number 171 Richard Berankis, and they always prove tough opponents at home. A few years ago Pakistan beat them on grass in Islamabad but things will be different at the greensett cushion flex, Indore.
They are playing at home and on a surface that suits them best. Indoor hard courts are always a tough proposition against European teams who play on such surfaces all year round. So I have to say that Lithuania has a clear advantage going into the play-off tie. Unlike Pakistan who do not enjoy that luxury, Lithuania also have some top players in their line-up.
Aqeel has been training with the Pakistan team members since Aisam was absent from the PTF complex for the past two weeks. “We conducted a training camp at the PTF complex. We trained hard for the tie, focusing on maximizing our focus to get in the best shape possible in singles. Shoaib has realized the importance of attacking tennis, especially fighting in the finals of national events.