Saturday, July 5, 2008
Trisha Krishnan News of this time
CHENNAI: ‘Thwack’ went the tennis ball against the racquet and the crowd cheered. The ball flew high over the net, sailed past the Sunfeast board beyond the court and landed with a plop on the warm sands of the Mamallapuram beach. Two years of tennis lessons in school had obviously not prepared actor Trisha well enough.
Amidst further cheers and laughter, the beach tennis match between Trisha Krishnan and tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi against squash player Dipika Pallikal and sports commentator Charu Sharma got underway. With hits, misses, tennis balls landing on different parts of the beach, and random rules made up as the game went along, excitement was in the air at the ITC Fortune Chariot Beach Resort in Mamallapuram on Tuesday, the venue of the match.
The match took all of 20 minutes. Pallikal and Sharma were the stronger team but Trisha and Bhupathi made up for it in enthusiasm, winning the game despite putting up a bad show in the beginning.
The game was held to promote the third edition of South Asia’s WTA tournament, Sunfeast Open 2007. Globosport, a sports and entertainment company founded and headed by Bhupathi, is one of the organisers of the Sunfeast Open, which is to be held in Kolkata in September.
After the match, Dipika Pallikal, a squash player of five years, currently ranked 68 in the world, said, “Five years ago, nobody had heard of squash.” Now, with sponsorships coming in the game is beginning to gain popularity, she added. Events such as these, she said, helped her gain recognition as a player.
Bhupathi said, “Such a game helps increase awareness of the event across India.” He added that it brought tennis closer to people on the street and generated an interest in the game. The Sunfeast Open, he said, gave an opportunity to young Indians and served as a stepping stone to further their careers.