KARACHI: Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi believes it will be a strictly professional affair when he meets his former doubles partner Rohan Bopanna on the blue clay of the Madrid Open later today.
Qureshi and his new partner Jean-Julien Rojer will face Bopanna and his comaptriot Mahesh Bhupati in the quarterfinal of the tournament, a day after beating doubles maestros Bob and Mike Bryan in a tie-break thriller.
“It is going to be a strange feeling,” Qureshi told Dawn.com from Madrid, as he headed out for practice.
“Rohan is one of my best mates on tour but I will treat him like any other opponent and take it professionally.”
It was with Bopanna that Qureshi lost to the Bryans in the men's doubles final of the 2010 US Open, and for the tennis star from Lahore, beating the same opponents made the victory “sweeter.”
Qureshi and Rojer beat Bob and Mike Bryan 4-6, 6-4, 18-16 after staging a stunning comeback in the match.
“Obviously, it's an unbelievably great feeling,” Qureshi said.
“It felt like winning a grand slam. But today, I am thinking about my next match. That's the thing about tennis - there is never enough time to celebrate.”
The 32-year-old is on a winning trail with his new partner after winning the Estoril Open in Portugal last week, and is sure they can silence their critics.
“It's funny how two weeks ago no one believed in us and said our pairing was not right but it's good to prove the critics wrong.”
The world number 17 pair, Qureshi believes, are bound to get stronger the more they play together.
Qureshi's individual ranking dropped to 14 at the beginning of the year. He needs to improve it and break into the top 10 in order to qualify for the London Olympics - a feat, which will make him the first Pakistani to represent the country in tennis at the Games, and one he is striving hard to achieve.
“There are three more tournaments to go so the chances of making it are very good. I am trying to do all the right things on my part and hopefully will be able to reach the Olympics.”