As Rafael Nadal ended his four-match losing streak against Novak Djokovic to clinch a fifth successive Roland Garros title on Sunday, many Indian viewers screeched with dismay on discovering that their chosen satellite TV providers we not airing the French Tennis Open final. Text messages flew back and forth when online options proved too slow and too disjointed to follow. But these are the complaints of mere mortals. Others, like Delhi-based industrialist Chetan Seth — well known as the capital’s cigar czar — sat courtside while Nadal and Djokovic clashed for the cup.
In the absence of any Bollywood presence to excite Indian viewers, ‘When doves cry’ singer Prince and Hollywood actor Owen Wilson proved to be the most exciting faces in the audience this year. A far cry from years gone by, when Leonardo DiCaprio, Pippa Middleton, Bill Clinton, Bradley Cooper and Salma Hayek were amongst the French Open’s starry spectators. From Jay-Z and Beyoncé to Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, many power couples have been pictured by paparazziwhile animatedly watching this sporting mega-event over the last decade. Now, of course, with Deepika Padukone being invited to attend the UEFA Champions League final match in Lisbon last month, you’ve got to wonder if promoters of tennis tournaments will go the footie way and fall back on Indian celebrities to boost their buzz in the far-flung corners of our country.
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