Pakistanâ€™s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and his Indian doubles tennis partner, Rohan Bopanna, have really been making names for themselves in New York this past fortnight at the U.S. Open. But the so-called â€œIndo-Pak Expressâ€ got derailed in the finals of the Menâ€™s Doubles competition by the American brothers Bryan. Bob and Mike Bryan won their third U.S. Open title with a 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4) win on Friday. The post-match ceremonies were punctuated by a heartfelt speech given by Qureshi to the people of New York. â€œI want to say something on behalf of all Pakistanis,â€ he said following Fridayâ€™s Menâ€™s Doubles finals. â€œEvery time I come here, thereâ€™s a wrong perception about the people of Pakistan. It is the wrong perception that Pakistan is being a terrorist country,â€ he stated over the public address speaker. â€œWe are a friendly, loving, caring people and we want peace as much as you guys want it. May Allah bless us all.â€ Later he added, â€œThere are extremists in every religion, but just because of them you cannot judge the whole country as a terrorist nation. I just wanted to get this message across as a Pakistani.â€ And as a silver lining to the loss, the Bryan brothers donated a portion of their championship winnings to the Pakistan flood relief effort.
Pakistanâ€™s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi has seen his world rankings skyrocket further after becoming the first Muslim to make the finals of a Grand Slam tournament twice over at the U.S. Open, in the Mixed Doubles as well as the Menâ€™s Doubles. His ATP world menâ€™s doubles ranking has moved up to 23 overall, with his team ranking, with partner Rohan Bopanna, shooting up to number 6 overall.
Qureshi should be on track for achieving his goal of a top 20 individual doubles ranking by the end of the year, inshallah. And in the process he has brought much needed exposure to the flood relief effort, in addition to bringing an island of positive public relations for Muslims amidst a sea of Islamophobia.