Vivek Oberoi and Suriya's rivalry continues. This time, on a different turf — the tennis court. Armed with racquets, they hit, lobbed and smashed — not each other but at tennis balls, as they played the inaugural game of the Aircel Chennai Open at the SDAT Tennis Stadium.

“I haven't played this game in 15 years,” says Vivek Oberoi, a tad nervous. “The larger the audience, the greater the chances of making a fool of yourself,” he smiles. While Vivek and Aisam-ul-haq-Qureshi joined forces, Suriya teamed up with Rohan Bopanna before going down 3-7.

A keen follower of sports, Vivek feels that sporting events such as Aircel Chennai Open will get more children interested in pursuing sports and will bring out more young icons such as Somdev Devvarman and Bopanna. “I used to play a lot of games in school. In fact, I made it to the State-level in boxing and badminton too,” says Vivek. An adventure sport enthusiast, he is now learning diving from his wife, who he says, is an expert diver.

Ask him how it is to be a married man and he beams, “It's amazing. There are moments of absolute bliss. Sometimes you are smiling but don't know why you are smiling.” He confesses to being a romantic husband. “I like to do really romantic things and spring surprises,” he says.

Sure looks like the newly-wed actor knows a few tricks to keep the lady of the house happy. Maybe, his tennis opponent and “Rakta Charitra” co-star, Suriya, could be given some credit. “During the shoot of the movie, on camera we were thirsting for each other's blood, but off it we got along really well. He gave me a lot of advice. I call him anna. He calls me mappillae and machchan!” Vivek's Tamil pronunciation seems perfect. That could be attributed to the actor's Chennai connection. His maternal grandparents lived here and he used to frequent the city a lot. “Even now, my maama lives here,” he adds.

Just back from Dubai after a New Year performance, Vivek claims to have had a fantastic start to 2011. “I woke up on the first of January to the news that I have been nominated for ‘Best Actor in a Negative Role' for ‘Rakta Charitra' at the Star Screen Awards.” He also has offers from Mani Ratnam, Ramgopal Verma and Tips to keep him busy this year.

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Priyadarshini PaitandyJune 28, 2012