ISLAMABAD - French world number 44 squash player Lucas Serme said Tuesday he had never ever received such respect, care and hospitality in his life, which he has received from Pakistan Squash Federation and local players.
Talking to The Nation, Lucas, who landed in the wee hours of Tuesday morning in Islamabad, said when he was contacted to play in the World-V series in Pakistan, he immediately accepted the invitation.
“I had met with the legend Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan when I was too young and I wanted to grab this opportunity with both hands. It’s like dream come true for me as I wanted to visit this land of champions.”
Lucas said he was so impressed the way Pakistan Squash Federation game development officer Sikandar remained in contact with him.
He said he was enjoying training at the Mushaf Squash Complex and had heard too much about the beauty of Islamabad and would love to roam around.
Lucas won the $15,000 tournament in Dublin last year while he defeated Egyptian Marwan El Shorbagy in the first round of the Canary Wharf PSA championship in London this year.
“No one ever played squash in my family before me. My dad used to play basketball where I kept accompanying him. There were two courts adjacent to basketball arena - one each of tennis and squash. I used to play both tennis and squash then I made up my mind that I am going to play professional squash. I am only 25 and already reached 44 in PSA rankings this year. Hopefully I will be able to break into elite group by the end of this year or early next year. My sister Camille Serme is world number 3 in females’ rankings and we both are doing our best to win laurels for our beloved country France.”
Lucas said he had spent only 12 hours in Pakistan so far and had already started to like the place. “I am hoping to perform well in the matches in next few days.”
When asked whether he would come to play PSA events in Pakistan, as hopefully ban on hosting international squash in Pakistan would be lifted soon, Lucas said he would love to come again and again for not only play PSA tournaments but also to visit different places and hoped that federation would arrange tour of different places.
When asked about security concerns about Pakistan and whether he was told not to travel to Pakistan, Lucas  said no that was not the case and he didn’t feel anything like that. “My wife told me to grab maximum pictures of Pakistan and I will take pictures and memories of this tour with me.”
On squash inclusion in the Olympics, Lucas said squash must be included in Olympics. “We are quite hopeful squash would be included in 2024 as squash is a highly competitive sports and I feel it should have been included in Olympics much earlier.”
When asked about how excited he was about meeting with legends Jahangir, Jansher and Qamar Zaman, Lucas replied: “I can’t wait to meet these heroes. They have the huge fan-following around the globe. I am looking anxiously forward of meeting these living legends. I had met Jahangir and Jansher but at that time I was hardly 6 or 7. I want to take tips and play with both these super stars of squash. I will like to once again thank Pakistan Squash Federation for their hospitality, love and respect.”