The India-Pakistan connection made them a global talking point at the US Open but Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi do not even consider themselves from two different nations.They were the first India-Pakistan combination to reach a Grand Slam final and their coming together and doing well at a tennis major, generated a huge interest.Even the Ambassadors from the two countries to the United Nations came together to cheer them and it was enough for media to add some political colour to the coverage, considering the two countries have fought three wars since becoming independent.Media coined terms like ‘Indo-Pak Express, Indo-Pak peace pair’ to describe their pairing but Bopanna today said he and Qureshi have never thought about the countries they belong to and their compatibility as individuals was the sole reason behind their partnership.”Qureshi and I got together because we felt that we would make a good doubles team. We know each other for so long and have a great understanding so it only made sense to play together.”We never intended on making any political statement. It is the media who gives us these tags, we never look at each other as being from different countries,” Bopanna told PTI in an interview.Asked that playing with a strong slogan such as “Stop War, Start Tennis” itself was a political statement, Bopanna said them being ambassadors for peace was the sole reason for having that message on their on-court attire.”We are just here to play tennis. We are great friends off the court and are looking to take our careers forward together. Since we are ambassadors for peace we try to spread that message through sports. We are not here to make any political statements,” he insisted. .advertisementThey brought together the two hostile nations to clap, scream and enjoy together and Bopanna said he and Qureshi would love to do more with their partnership.”Well, we want people to trust and respect each other.Sports should never be subject to religion or politics,” he said.Talking about the biggest match of their career, the Indian Davis Cupper said he and Qureshi now have the belief that they are Grand Slam material and could soon even win one.”Earlier we used to win the first set but fall of on the second set and then take the third. But now we want to win big. We focus even harder on the second set, and the entire US Open, the only sets we dropped were in the finals.”Also that we can compete at this level and we know we belong here. We just need to stay focused, work hard and we can win a Grand Slam final.”The runners-up trophy has already earned them a huge bonanza as they are now ranked world number six.”Hopefully, it will lead to many great performances and eventually take us to the No.1 spot in doubles. I am noted as a confidence player, and I am sure that this final, will help me be a more confident player and doing better.”Bopanna could have been only the fourth Indian and Qureshi first Pakistani to win a Grand Slam had they beaten the Bryan brothers — Mike and Bob — in the US Open final.They are little disappointed to miss out on history but still very much satisfied.”We are still working our way towards winning a Grand Slam. Despite the result it was a great achievement to make it to the finals. We were a bit disappointed, but looking back I think that is definitely something to be proud of,” he said.
It was the year of the San Miguel Corp. triple crown in the PBA.San Miguel Beer retained the Philippine Cup title, Barangay Ginebra captured the Commissioner’s Cup championship, and Magnolia won the Governors’ Cup crown.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LATEST STORIES Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño The PBAPC is naming its first Lifetime Achievement awardee in Alaska team owner Wilfred S. Uytengsu.The group has also named awardees for Mr. Quality Minutes (Vic Manuel), Defensive Player of the Year (John Paul Erram), Game of the Season (Barangay Ginebra-Rain or Shine 3OT), Breakout Player of the Season (Chris Tiu), Scoring champion (Stanley Pringle) and Order of Merit (June Mar Fajardo, Paul Lee and Manuel).Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion And it was a feat credited largely to SMC sports director Alfrancis Chua.The PBA Press Corps recognized Chua’s effort in the rare feat—this marked the first time in the PBA that all three SMC teams won titles in one season—and will hand him the Danny Floro Executive Award on Jan. 21, during the group’s 25th anniversary of its Annual Awards Night presented by Cignal TV at Novotel Manila Araneta Center.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsChua joins his boss, Ramon S. Ang, in the ranks of those who have won the prestigious award, a list that includes Manny V. Pangilinan, Wilfred S. Uytengsu, Danding Cojuangco, Raymund Yu and Terry Que, Ricky Vargas, Renauld “Sonny” Barrios, Rene Pardo, Buddy Encarnado, Elmer Yanga, Simon Mossesgeld, George Chua, and the late Jun Bernardino and Henry Cojuangco.Only the prestigious Virgilio ‘Baby’ Dalupan Coach of the Year is yet to be announced, with Leo Austria, Tim Cone and Chito Victolero battling for the trophy bearing the name of the late “Maestro” of Philippine coaching. Fact & Fancy: It’s devotion vs delusion Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View comments