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Israeli-Pakistani doubles team won ATP award

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    Israeli-Pakistani doubles team won ATP award

    • Dil Khush Hogaya

      Doubles team wins Arthur Ashe award

      LONDON (AP) -- An Israeli-Pakistani doubles team won the ATP's Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award on Thursday for promoting "tolerance through tennis."

      Israel's Amir Hadad, a Jew, and Pakistan's Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, a Muslim, played doubles together at Wimbledon and the U.S Open last year.

      "During a summer when fear and hatred garnered much of the headlines, Amir and Aisam-Ul-Haq provided much needed relief with their simple message about tolerance through tennis," ATP chief executive Mark Miles said.

      "It is fitting that we present the Arthur Ashe award to these two players to mark the (10th) anniversary of Arthur's death, as Arthur remains the model for all of us on how athletes and sport can make a big difference in the lives of others."

      Ashe was the first black man to win the U.S Open in 1968, one of 33 career titles. Ashe, who has a stadium named after him at Flushing Meadows in New York, was an ambassador against racism in the game and the world.

      Hadad and Qureshi reached the third round at Wimbledon and the second round at the U.S Open.

      Hadad said he hadn't intended to make a political statement.

      "I have had quite a lot of people come up to me at the airport or on the airplane and ask me when I was going to play with the Pakistani player again," Hadad said. "I never heard anybody say, 'Don't play with him' or something like that."

      Qureshi, who was denounced by the head of tennis in Pakistan during Wimbledon for pairing with Hadad, thanked his parents for their support.

      "They also helped me and gave me confidence that I was doing the right thing," he said. "It's good for the game. They were telling me to keep it up. All my family and everybody at home were proud of me."

      Other ATP winners were Lleyton Hewitt (player of the year), Thailand's Paradorn Srichaphan (most improved player), Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu (newcomer of the year), Dutchman Richard Krajicek (comeback player of the year), and Canada's Mark Nestor and Mark Knowles of the Bahamas (doubles team of the year).

      Hewitt was named player of the year for the second straight time. The Australian won five titles in 2002, including Wimbledon.

      Paradorn, who also won the sportsmanship award, improved his ranking from No. 126 to No. 16 and won titles in Long Island and Stockholm.

      Mathieu, 21, won back-to-back titles in Moscow and Lyon after failing to win a single match at ATP level in 2001. He went from No. 147 to No. 36 in the rankings.

      Krajicek reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals after being sidelined for 20 months following elbow surgery.

      Nestor and Knowles won six titles and reached 13 finals in 2002, including the French Open and Wimbledon.

      The winners were selected in voting by the players, with ballots collected during the Australian Open last month.

      In a separate poll on the ATP web site, Russia's Marat Safin won the "fans' favorite" award.

    Good for the guys, they deserved it.


      Well done both guys for keeping sport pure from hatred


        I grow in learning as I grow in age.


          congrats to both of them. Good job.


            Well Done Aisam.


              great part is that this shows tolerance and mutual respect. sad bit is that if i remember right there were ppl badmouthing these guys from both their countries.

              bravo though, well deserved.
              The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.


                Good Job both the guyz.....

                that's where we bring islam into play warna chaahe jo bhi ho raha ho....koi parwa nahi karta...



                  Nice to see a Pakistani sowing the seeds of friendship.


                    All well and good Just hope this Aisam dude is not fined and imprisoned in Pakistan. I thought I had heard he was issued some kinda show-cause notice by Pakistani tennis association a while ago. Hopefully saner minds prevailed.
                    "Let your friends underestimate your virtues. Let your enemies overestimate your faults." - Godfather.


                      good to hear, play on!