Tennis | ‘She needs a cup of coffee to wake her up’

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Rohan Bopanna took strong exception to former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli’s comments on doubles tennis when he appeared on Purav Raja’s Instagram chat show.

Bopanna was upset about Bartoli’s recent remarks that doubles events should be cut and the money given to players competing in Challengers. “She doesn’t know enough facts,” he said. “She has played doubles and made a lot of money. She needs a cup of coffee. That will wake her up.”

The latest edition of Chai with Raja featured Stephen Amritraj and his wife Alison Riske, ranked No. 19 in the world, ‘taking on’ doubles stars Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and Rajeev Ram. Bopanna was tasked with deciding the winner. Ram, who won the Australian Open this year with Britain’s Joe Salisbury, pointed out that doubles only receives 19% of the total prize money. He said it could be marketed better.

Except for the hot-button issue, it was a lively show, in which Riske and Amritraj were the runaway winners for their sharp answers and entertaining exuberance. “Stephen was firing away at the start, and they were on a roll. Alison made a pretty good effort,” said Bopanna.

Pakistan’s Qureshi, who reached the 2010 US Open final with Bopanna, was very popular, with comments pouring in from adoring fans, but he did not fare quite as well with the questions, both tough and easy. He even playfully pleaded,

“Should we skip this section?” before sportingly attempting to answer questions such as the one on the price of oranges in Amritsar.

On his appearance in a Grand Slam final in New York, Qureshi said, “It was a life-changing tournament, life-changing moment. To reach the final, with my closest friend, Bopanna, was special.” With the UN awards, the whole world knew about us. It was the highlight of my career, and I can never forget it. Am thankful to Bopanna.”

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