Tuesday May 12, 2020
KARACHI: Several international tennis stars — including Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic — have come forward to support the efforts of Pakistan's ace player, Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, to provide relief to those affected by the coronavirus lockdown in the country.
Aisam confirmed to Geo.tv that top tennis stars, as well as other Pakistani athletes, have donated their memorabilia for "Stars Against Hunger" — a cause he initiated in collaboration with Rizq Foundation.
"These memorabilia will be auctioned to raise funds to provide rations to needy people who are largely affected due to the lockdown in the country and continue to struggle to earn bread and butter for family," the Pakistani tennis ace said.
He said he was aiming to generate around Rs35 million by auctioning items donated by various sports stars and use that money to distribute 10,000 ration bags.
Aisam revealed that Switzerland's Federer has donated his shirt and shoes for the cause. Federer had worn shirt in the Wimbledon 2016 semifinals against Milos Raonic where he graciously bowed out after a grueling contest, losing 6-3, 6-7, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.
The pair of shoes the tennis great donated were worn at the Cincinnati Masters 2011 where he entered as a defending champion and progressed to the quarterfinal.
The Pakistani player added that the shirt donated by Spain's Nadal features the Rafael Nadal Academy's official logo and he wore it during the practice sessions at the French Open 2018.
Djokovic donated the shirt that he wore while playing the 2011 Australian Open final against Andy Murray. He defeated Murray 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 to win the title.
India's Sania Mirza has also donated a signed racket that she had used in her comeback tour back in 2019. Grigor Dimitrov, Daniil Medvedev, and Stefanos Tsitsipas have also donated their racket to the cause.
Aisam added that squash legend Jahangir Khan has donated his signed "Special Edition 555" squash racket, which is a commemorative icon of his legacy.
Boxer Amir Khan has donated his gloves, while former cricket captains Sarfaraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik have donated their shirts for the cause. Fast bowlers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar have also agreed to donate their signed cricket balls to be auctioned for the cause.