PTF struggling to convince Sania to play charity match
Karachi: Pakistan Tennis Federation (PTF) has given up hopes of convincing Indian tennis star Sania Mirza to play an exhibition match for flood relief victims in Lahore after she allegedly demanded USD 25,000 dollars to make the appearance.
Acting PTF President Irshad Bhatti said that the federation had been very keen to organise a match between Sania and Kveta Peshke, who is the mixed doubles partner of Pakistani tennis star Aisam-ul-Haq.
"We spoke to her and first of all she was reluctant to play in Lahore and secondly she said we would have to pay her 25,000 dollars appearance fee for the match," Bhatti claimed.
He said that the PTF was not in a position to fulfill such a financial demand.
"Sania suggested we also speak further to her husband, cricketer Shoaib Malik about the match and the venue of Lahore but he had more stringent views about the appearance fees for the match," Bhatti said.
Sania got married to Malik last year but has been to Pakistan rarely, notably once for her Valima in Lahore.
Both the sporting stars have set up home in Dubai because of their schedules and since it is more convenient for them to visit each other`s countries.
She has also made it clear that she remains a proud Indian and would continue to hold her Indian nationality.
Bhatti said the PTF was obviously a bit disappointed at the demand of the Indian tennis star as they wanted to organise the match for the flood relief victims.
"So basically the match involving Sania is off but the one featuring Aisam and his Indian doubles partner Rohan Bopanna planned at the Wagah border is on," he said.
The PTF chief said 80 per cent of the groundwork for the singles match between Aisam and Bopanna was done and the PTF was focusing on having the match around December at the Wagah border as a peace initiative between the two countries.
He said both players had also shown their keenness in taking part in the match.
Bhatti said the PTF remained keen to have Sania`s involvement in some way to promote tennis in Pakistan.
He also said that the PTF has decided to launch a brisk campaign to get the Fed Cup-2012 Asia Oceania Zone tie 2012.
Bhatti said Pakistan would present its case at next month`s International Tennis Federation meeting in Hong Kong.
"We want to host the Fed Cup tie because unless the ITF comes forward to help us in organising international events the game will die in Pakistan in near future," he said.
"We will ensure full security to all the member countries to support our bid as the PTF anxiously desires to host international events in the country," Irshad said.