‘Both of us realise the importance of playing together and get more medals for India’
India's leading squash players Dipika Pallikal and Joshna Chinappa, who couldn't see eye to eye after an acrimonious quarterfinal in the Incheon Asian Games, have buried the hatchet to be friends again ahead of a busy upcoming season.
The fiercely fought last eight clash, which Dipika won to secure India's first women's singles medal at the Asian Games, had jeopardised the longtime friendship between the country's top female players.
They stopped talking after the heated on court exchange in Incheon and all of this took place a month after Dipika and Joshna made history by winning the India's first ever gold at the Commonwealth Games.
"It is back to normal between us. We have known each other way too long to not sort out our differences. And we also live in the same city (Chennai). Besides that, both of us realise the importance of playing together and get more medals for India," revealed Joshna, who has now overtaken Dipika to be India's highest-ranked player at 13.
It can only be good for Indian squash that the leading ladies of the game are back to sharing rooms while fighting a 'lonely' battle on the professional tour besides advising each other on the game in whichever part of the world they are in.
Dipika, who is five years younger to her 29-year-old teammate, too has moved on from the intense Incheon incident.
"It was a tough match and we both were playing for a medal. What happened post that should not have happened but we have decided to move on looking at the bigger picture. We are the only two from our country playing at the highest-level and that is why have to stick together," Dipika said.
"We have two big team events next year and hopefully we can win medals for the country," the world number 16 said while recalling the quarterfinal at the 2014 Asian Games.
What did it take to break the ice? "Joshna and I were playing in Canada and she came to talk and obviously it did not take long for us to reconnect. We have been playing together, touring together since our junior days," said Dipika.
They have already set their sight on Asian Team Championships and World Team Championships in 2016. With the 2015 World Open being cancelled, Joshna and Dipika will open their pro season with the Tournament of Champions in January.
Their first team event is expected to be the South Asian Games scheduled to be held in Guwahati and Shillong in February.