Wednesday, September 22, 2010

On The Same Side Of The Net

So, um, there's still tennis going on. And stuff. In this not-that-exciting time of the year.

But at the end of the day, I don't have that much to say except 'yay, Dinara Safina won a match', so we're going to flash back to the US Open a week ago. And we're going to do something I don't often do on this blog - talk doubles.

Yes, I am aware that everyone and their dog have covered this story, but really, is there a better news story around than Bopanna and Qureshi?

We can talk about the Bryans till the cows come home - and probably we should, because what they have achieved is awesome. But the whole Bopanna/Qureshi thing is one of the biggest feelgood stories in tennis this year. An Indian and a Pakistani playing together... wow.

I studied a lot of Indian politics and history at uni, and one of the things I remember noting is the role of sport as a healer. Politically, India and Pakistan are at loggerheads, and this can translate to the sporting world as well - particularly cricket, where the rivalry is fierce. But then something will happen, like one nation touring the other, playing friendly matches. It makes everyone feel all nice. And things are good for a little while. It makes sport not only awesome and fun, but politically worthwhile, a goodwill gesture.

Bopanna and Qureshi have taken that one step further. They're not playing each other, participating in feelgood friendly partisanship. No, they're playing together. They're united. They're one. And they are taking on the world. The only way their story could be better is if they won, but at the end of the day, even that doesn't matter. Their trip to the final won them huge visibility, but the fact that they played together at all is magnificently wonderful.

I really hope these two guys stay together for a long time. There is no way to underestimate the amount of good they can do by standing up together on the same side of a net. No way at all.

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