We’ve got Australian Open fever, so we thought it’s a good time to highlight a Muslim tennis player who has played this year. Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi is best known as Pakistan’s best tennis player, a doubles stalwart for two decades. But the 38-year-old will also be remembered as someone who used tennis—and the opportunities for cooperation doubles offers—as a way to build bridges that few others have been willing to build, and as someone who never shied away from controversy in his quest for peace. He has won the most Davis Cup matches for Pakistan, being the most successful singles and doubles player from his country ever. He is also part of the most successful doubles pairing for Pakistan in the country’s sporting history.
Qureshi reached a high ranking in doubles of No. 8 in 2011, has won 18 tournaments, and has reached the quarterfinals or better in each of the four Grand Slams.
Qureshi is committed to helping athletes around the world who use wheelchairs, hearing aids and other assistive devices. He founded the Stop War Start Tennis foundation to promote peace through tennis in countries that have been devastated by armed conflicts. “I provide them with specific tennis wheelchairs, people who have lost their limbs and legs, and I give them tennis equipment. I meet their federations – so far, I have done five projects – Afghanistan, Iraq, I was in Africa last year, Sri Lanka and Cambodia. This year, I will start doing it in Pakistan as well.”
Tennis has given me everything. I feel like it’s my obligation and my responsibility to give something back.