Bopanna, Qureshi want tennis match on Indo-Pak border

India`s Rohan Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi hope to see the players from two countries facing off in a tennis match on the border.

Last Updated: Sep 09, 2010, 12:24 PM IST

New York: Their message of peace being applauded as much as their on-court exploits, India`s Rohan
Bopanna and his Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi hope to
see the players from two countries facing off in a tennis
match on the border.

Bopanna and Qureshi have entered the US Open finals and
were cheered by the United Nations ambassadors from their
countries during the 7-6 (5), 6-4 semifinal win over Argentines
Eduardo Schwank and Horacio Zeballos.

"We knew, to do well in the big events was the only way
to pass on that message. So obviously, for them coming here
and watching us play, it`s a big step for us. Hopefully with
that, and, you know, both our countries agreeing we can have
that match up on that border," Bopanna said.

Qureshi too was elated to see the two ambassadors --
Harpreet Suri (India) and Abdullah H Haroon (Pakistan) --
applauding him and Bopanna as they inched closer to their
maiden Grand Slam title together.

"Obviously it just feels like that us doing well, on the
bigger circuit and the bigger level is getting the message
across throughout the world and among all the Pakistanis and
Indians.”

"If me and Rohan can get along so well on and off the
court, there`s no reason the Indians and Pakistanis can`t get
along with each other. We just saw the both ambassadors today
sitting together. It was really good," he added.

Asked what they discussed with the ambassadors after the
match, Qureshi said the two have promised to be back for the
finals tomorrow.

"To us they were very encouraging. They just said what we
are doing is a great thing together, and they both are on our
side. They actually said also they`re coming and watching the
finals as well for us, so that`s a great thing, I think," he
said.

"I`m just very, very happy and proud to be a part of it.
You know, the `Indo-Pak Express`, I`m just happy I`m on the
Indo Pak Express. You know, it`s really good we`re getting all
the wins, and we`re somehow bringing the people of both
nations together," he added.

Bopanna said he was glad that his pairing with Qureshi
was being appreciated by people on both sides of the border.

"We are not looking into any political part or anything
to do with whatever is happening. We`re just trying to see --
you know, trying to promote -- you know, if like even two per
cent or three per cent of people change their minds of saying,
you know, if we both can get along why can`t they, as well,"
he said.

"I would have to say today was a small step towards it.
You know, we always said sports can reach places where no
religion or politics or politician can reach. I think it`s
above all the religion and politics," added Qureshi.

PTI