When Alberta Brianti was struggling with an injury against Angelique Widjaja on Thursday afternoon, there was chaos at the media conference room. Mukesh Anand had a grouse and he wanted everyone to lend him their ears.
"I would like to tell you friends in the media about the high-handed behaviour of the organisers here. I was invited here and have travelled two nights from Ahmedabad where I work for the Gujarati newspaper.
“My only mistake was to have left my accreditation card in office. I had requested the organisers (Globosport) to send someone to fetch me from Howrah Station as I didn't know the city. They sent bouncers who, when told that I didn't have my accreditation papers with me, abused me and hit me. My shirt was torn and my pride hurt. Is it my fault I can't speak English like you all?” Anand, wearing a khadi kurta and a ear-ring, said.
To say that reporters and photographers who had fetched up to hear an announcement were stunned would be understating the obvious. “Is this a joke,” someone asked but you could hear a pin drop in the media room before and after that.
Having had enough of the sound of silence, Anand, speaking in Hindi, said: “So, even you (the media) don't seem to support me.” Two representatives from Globosport tried calming Anand down even requesting him to wait in another room. He went out and came back crying, his kurta torn.
Once again, Anand blamed it on the security personnel. Globosport told the media he had been put up at the seven-star team hotel last night and he had refused to pay.
“He desperately wanted to cover this event and we got Mahesh's (Bhupathi) okay to send him a train ticket. Now we have a problem,” a representative said. Just as a senior journalist began dialling the number, Anand had given as that of his editor and another thought of taking him for lunch (Anand said he hadn't eaten anything all day), in walked Cyrus Broacha. "I knew you can't fool the press, yaar,” he said embracing Anand.
Maybe, that was the laugh machine's way of taking a dig. Because the joke surely was on the media and it was a gag they all enjoyed. And it wasn't just at the media's expense that Broacha has had fun.
On Wednesday, Mahesh was told that he would have to participate in a clinic on the practice courts. There, a girl waited to hit with the winner of 38 doubles titles and but after sometime decided talking to him was a better option.
Being told that she is connected to the sponsors, Mahesh obliged and was made to sign innumerable autographs and told to repeatedly pose for pictures because no digicam seemed to be working.
Clueless that he was being taken for a ride, Bhupathi apparently was getting a little impatient when the girl got a call and said, “Yes, dad Leander is here; would you like to talk to him?” before passing the phone to Bhupathi. The ‘dad’ was Broacha and the bakra a winner of 10 Grand Slam titles.
Broacha has also done an outlandish interview with Sunitha Rao where he got violent with the crew and told players that the practice courts were booked all day for Sania Mirza! One grouse and several gags can make for an interesting sideshow during an intense week of tennis.