ISLAMABAD: After the Indian Premier League cricket tournament, now Pakistani and Indian players are teaming up in tennis too. Pakistan's top tennis star Aisamul Haq Qureshi and India's Rohan Bopanna will be pairing up at the French Open, their first Grand Slam entry.
People in Pakistan have welcomed and appreciated the two players coming together.
This is a significant event in the history of tennis of India and Pakistan as the flags of both countries will flutter together at a Grand Slam event.
"We played together on the ATP Tour last year and early this year, but we are excited and are keenly looking forward to the French Open, our first Grand Slam appearance," Qureshi was quoted as saying.
In doubles, Qureshi is currently ranked 67 in the world and Bopanna 58. They are both big servers and hard hitters with a lot of experience of playing together.
"It will be great if the pair can win the title," an official of the Pakistan Sports Board said.
"Things have changed and people of both the countries want friendly relations with the other," the PCB official said, adding that the recent inclusion of Pakistani players in the Indian Cricket League and Indian Premier League have raised the confidence level of the people and such events will bring the people closer.
A couple of years ago when Qureshi teamed up with Israeli Amir Hadad at Wimbledon there was evere criticism by not just the fundamentalists but even the country's sports board, which said that the rising star could be banned.
A family member of Qureshi then said: "If Pakistanis can play with Indians and Russians, why can't they play with Israelis?"