I paid for watching Wimbledon, nothing wrong in it: Krishna

July 5th, 2011 - 1:01 am ICT by IANS  

Novak Djokovic New Delhi, July 4 (IANS) 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.

“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.

“There is nothing unusual for a visiting dignitary or a visiting foreign minister to peep into Wimbledon to get a feel of it. I am myself a tennis player and I love watching tennis,” he said.

“I have been watching tennis since the days of Bjorn Borg in 1981. That was the first time I went to Wimbledon. So there is nothing new,” he added.

“The subsequent two days was borne out of my own pocket. I think that should straighten the record,” Krishna said, adding that the first two days of his visit and stay in London were official.

He said this when asked by reporters 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.

Krishna added that he is the president of the Karnataka Lawn Tennis Association and also the President of the Karnataka tennis association.

Later, the external affairs ministry said in a statement that British Secretary William Hague, during their recent pull aside meeting in Rome, had invited Krishna to visit London for bilateral talks on June 30. The controversy erupted ahead of a cabinet reshuffle that is expected later this month.

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