In the first interview ever as a couple with Cynergy, Rutuja Bhosale (India’s third best female tennis player & part of India’s winning Fed Cup team) and Swapnil Gugale (Former Captain – Maharashtra Ranji Cricket Team) spills the bean on how they came together, about their wedding preparations and even about their sport. With broad smiles on their face, the couple went on to share some funny moments too.
Tell us how this lovely story began. This is a surprise for many actually. Wedding day is around the corner already (7/8th Aug 2020).
Swapnil Gugale: Rutuja was training at the Deccan Gymkhana. 6 years back, I joined the same Gymkhana and got introduced to Rutuja. She was there from US (doing her studies), for some days in Pune and thereafter we stayed in touch.
Rutuja Bhosale: Yeah, we knew each other from past. Both of us played for Deccan and we used to meet at annual functions. So, we knew about each other, but didn’t communicate much then. First time we actually met and spoke, was during my Christmas break (while I was studying in US). After that we started talking to each other quite frequent, and slowly the relationship matured. It’s been 4 years now. Laughs…!!
So, when did you first discuss about marriage?
Swapnil Gugale: 6 months back, we spoke about it. We were busy with sports back then, so it was tough to find a time for wedding. Covid19 gave us that break, to talk in depth about our lives and take that decision. This pandemic is going to stay for another 6-8 months and it doesn’t look like that we will be able to travel anytime soon. It’s just nice for us, as it gives us the extra time to know each other and more importantly for the family to come together.
That’s great. Tell us how did you break the news to your family members?
Rutuja Bhosale: Being in Police and due to the covid19, dad has been quite busy with work, as you know. He had gone for Covid19 tests, but thankfully it was all good. Recently he also had some cervical problems, and not fully fit. He has finally recovered from all these and feeling better.
Mom was aware of us and has been quite supportive, since early days. I was like pushing mom from some time, and when she finally broke the news, my dad took it in such a positive way. I had actually never thought of it, but it was all so smooth. Things went quite quick and fast after that, and now we are close to the wedding day.
Swapnil Gugale: Not very different with me too. My family was quite chilled out about it. My brother and my dad were up for it & quite excited to know about it. We invited Rutuja’s family for a lunch and that’s how they got introduced to each other. It was very smooth and both families were so comfortable with each other.
Those moments are quite nervy, Rutuja Bhosale.
Rutuja Bhosale: Oh yeah. I was in full panic mode, sweating and all when I heard about this meetup. But his father is exactly like Swapnil, very relaxed and chilled. Didn’t realise that it was our first meetup. We discussed about my career goals, aspirations and advised me to keep playing and focus on a career. Nothing is better than going to a family, associated with sports. Eventually, it’s about our sporting life and finding a happy balance between work, friends and family.
Swapnil Gugale: My family didn’t have any sporting background in past. I am the only one into sports from my family till now. In the Marwari community, as you know, they are more into the business side of things. Passion for cricket was there in me since childhood and just followed it with full heart.
Tell us about your background and family, Swapnil Gugale.
During the school days, I went for selection trials happening in the school itself, without telling anyone in the family. Always had passion for cricket and wanted to try that. I did well in the trials, got picked for the school and that’s how the passion for the sport kicked off. My dad wasn’t much serious then, as I was a kid. He started showing lot more interest, when I got picked for the state and my name appeared in the newspaper and his friends started to call him and enquire. It’s a different feeling to play for your state and represent it. It just gets on your nerves and pushes you to perform at your best.
My brother is a software engineer and works with Accenture. My dad is in real estate business. Since we have been in business for long, it comes very natural to us post our studies. I never had that business mindset and wanted to follow my intuitions and dreams. Luckily my dad & brother supported me throughout and because of them I have reached so far. I do help him in his business on the side, but he never pressurised me to get into the business.
During this shutdown, how are you preparing for your wedding?
Shops are open till 5pm in evening. We plan and sort things out iteratively. Also assigning work to other family members too. Laughs! We have sometime left and should be able to complete the preparations by then.
Talk about the sports. how do you see things shaping up in next 3-6 months?
Rutuja Bhosale: ITF has officially announced that sports will resume from August. However, there are still loads of questions in players minds. It’s good to witness that tournaments are slowly planning to open up but a little unfair for athletes from countries like India, Brazil and many others where cases are on the rise. Before any games, providing a safe environment for players and spectators is most important. All we can do on our side is to stay fit physically and stay hungry mentally to get out and compete!
Swapnil Gugale: Matches without spectators is not fun. Without them around, players will find it difficult too. If we have good healthcare and proper hygiene followed, I think it can get started slowly. Cricket has suffered a lot due to this pandemic. The economics part of it is completely damaged. But again, it’s important to stay safe and wait for the right time when cases start to decline.
Losing out on your practices, muscle memory and sport.
Rutuja Bhosale: I have had injuries in past, so I have gone through situations where I was out of game for 2-3 months. So, it’s not bothering me much. Within 10 days of good practice, I think I should be able to hit the ball, the way I used to do earlier. We will need more practice matches to get in the groove. Initially may be a bit rusty but getting into the groove should not be that difficult. We need to be optimist, look at the positive side of things and draw inspiration from it. There are a few sessions Hemant sir makes us join i.e. strength sessions, yoga, meditations etc. Everyone is doing their bit, to stay comfortable and fit.
Swapnil Gugale: Cricket is a team game, not an individual sport like tennis. We can’t practice, so we just try to stay fit and continue doing our regular practice drills.
Swapnil Gugale, your favorite cricket format
As an opener, I tend to play aggressive. As an opener, I am a big fan of Virender Sehwag. Sachin Tendulkar is my all-time favorite.
Now a days, we play across all formats, different weather conditions, so need to be flexible enough to change our game style. I love playing long formats of the game like Test cricket, Ranji trophy. The Ranji format may look boring for audience, but on the ground as a player, it’s a different feeling altogether.
Intouch with your tennis friends, Rutuja?
Rutuja Bhosale: Yes, I have group with Arjun, Ankita, Hemant sir and we do exchange messages. Mostly its around wedding these days. Laughs! I am also in touch with Pranjala Yadlapalli and Sowjanya Bavisetti as they are my good friends.