Did you know we had a man at the US Open?
SHREERAM Gokhale, our Punebased cricket writer, is back from the US of A where he did duty as a line umpire along with three other Indians (Sagar Kashyap, Supreeth Kadvigere and Saibal Banerjee) at this year’s Open that has sadly become synonymous with Serena Williams’s outburst at umpire Carlos Ramos at last week’s women’s singles final in New York.
When we ask Shreeram about his working hours at the Open, he reveals, “11 am to 8 or 9 pm.” Phew! Imagine standing with both hands on your knees and concentrating while the tennis players rally away. Of course, there are hourly breaks. For Shreeram, who has officiated at 11 Grand Slams that include six Wimbledons and one Australian Open, it’s a sheer honour to represent Tennis Officials of India (TOI).
“Being on court with the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Serena, Sharapova means a lot since I am basically a tennis fan, who turned into a tennis official,” says Shreeram, who also enjoys officiating games involving junior players.
Some of the TOI group members did duty in the Review booths and although they couldn’t meet over a curry due to their, in Shreeram’s words, “conflicting schedule”, they managed to get together for a Sunday brunch on the last day of tennis action in New York.