I paid for watching Wimbledon, says tennis fan Krishna


New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Monday clarified that he had paid for the two extra days he spent in London last week to watch a Wimbledon match.

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“I love watching tennis. What’s wrong with it,” Krishna retorted when asked by reporters whether he overstayed in London to watch the Wimbledon men’s singles semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on July 1.

“I paid for the expenses for the subsequent part of the trip,” Krishna told reporters when asked about a media report that he had stayed at the luxurious Bentley Hotel run by the Waldorf Astoria chain on government expense after the official leg of his five-day visit to Britain, during which he held talks with British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

The talks ended on Thursday, but according to some reports, Krishna stayed back for the Wimbledon match.

“There is nothing unusual. I myself have been a tennis player,” said Krishna, adding he is the president of the Karnataka Lawn Tennis Association and the vice president of the All India Tennis Association.

The controversy erupted ahead of a cabinet reshuffle that is expected later this month. Analysts point out that the controversy could not have come at a worse time for Krishna as it may give a handle to his opponents who want him shifted from the external affairs ministry.