Pakistan’s Tennis Superstar – Sarah Mahboob Khan


When one talks of tennis in Pakistan, one celebrity that comes to mind is Aisam Ul Haq. For his own celebrity, the poor guy sacrificed a lot as media hoarded over and scratched for every ups and downs in his personal life. Tennis badly needs a good reputation in the country now.

Sara Mehboob is one of Pakistan's most recognisable sportswoman
Sara Mehboob is one of Pakistan’s most recognisable sportswomen
“Sarah has had a tremendous career … playing Fed Cup for her country giving her extensive international experience. She will add a lot of depth to our team and should make an impact right away…” – Roy Cañada, Head Coach at New Mexico

Fortunately, we have Sara Mehboob Khan. Born on February 9, 1991 in Rawalpindi, the 21-year old tennis player is one of the leading female athletes in the country. She is perhaps the only female athlete in the country who has represented Pakistan the most in various international tournaments.

At only the age of 14, Sara became Pakistan’s youngest ever National Champion. She has stepped up her game since then and even became Pakistan’s favourite for the London 2012 Olympics squad. Only because she had signed up later with the tennis team at University of New Mexico at Albuquerque that she couldn’t participate and represent Pakistan in the Olympics. Pakistan however, still has its fingers crossed for Rio 2016 and to see this rising Pakistani star shine bright on the International stage.

Sarah Mehboob Khan playing for James Madison University
In February 2011, she became the first Pakistani female tennis player to represent Pakistan in the Fed Cup tournaments and was part of the Pakistani Fed Cup squad. Only an year earlier, she had also qualified for the very first time for the draw of an International Tennis Federation’s tournament outside Pakistan and managed to reach the quarter-finals with doubles partner Irina Constantinide in Egypt.

Playing for the London 2012 Year-to-Go event in Islamabad in 2011
Playing for the London 2012 Year-to-Go event in Islamabad in 2011

Many would argue that Sara Mehboob got her way cut out into the national sporting arena when she began coaching under her father Mehboob Khan, former Pakistani tennis player turned coach. However, she distances herself from her father’s shadow to carve out an identity for herself. Many Pakistanis have already started putting Sara forth as Pakistan’s answer to India’s Sania Mirza. Oh, what wouldn’t one give to watch a match between the two!

Sarah Mehboob Khan (3rd from the left) has much to prove in the matches for state fixtures whilst playing for the University of New Mexico Women's Tennis team
Sarah Mehboob Khan (3rd from the left) has much to prove in the matches for state fixtures whilst playing for the University of New Mexico Women’s Tennis team

Much like any girl her age, Sara thinks it is vital for a Pakistani, especially a woman, to voice her concerns pertaining to the civil society in Pakistan. She, along with her father, supports Imran Khan in line to become the next prime minister of Pakistan.

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