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It wasn’t my decision, Bhupathi on split with Paes

November 30
03:45 2011

NEW DELHI: Veteran Indian tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi claims it was Leander Paes’ decision to end their much-hyped reunion within a year as he felt that they “were possibly a little too old on the tour and not able to gel on a consistent basis.”

“I guess everyone has their own opinion. Leander just felt that we were possibly a little too old on the tour and not able to gel on a consistent basis. He felt that our team needed fresh legs on either side. That was his point of view.

Unfortunately, that’s the crux of the equation today,” Bhupathi said.

Bhupathi and Paes reunited after a nine-year gap with the plan of representing India at the Olympics next year but stunningly parted ways at the end of this season.

While Bhupathi has decided to team up with Rohan Bopanna, Paes will be partnering Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic.

Bhupathi, however, insisted that there was no fallout between the two as in the past. But he did say that it was hard for him to explain the split.

“It’s very hard for me to explain that decision. It wasn’t my decision. When we started playing last year the Olympics was a goal, Australia and the World Championships were a goal, and I had a feeling we’d see our careers into the sunset.

“But as I said, Leander has a difference of opinion and I have to respect that. We’re professionals and at the end of the day we both love to compete and to win and we do whatever it takes to get the best out of both of us,” Bhupathi told ‘CNN-IBN’.

Bhupathi maintained that two don’t have any bitterness towards each other.

“We had a chat once we got back from Shanghai and since then we’ve been playing well and practicing pretty well in Mumbai so there was definitely no fall-out. He has his opinion and I’ve got to respect that. Because of that, we’ve both found new partners for next year,” he said.
Bhupathi also rejected suggestions that the split might affect India’s medal chances.

“I’m a firm believer that the Olympics is the biggest stage and for that you need to prepare really well because the hardest thing in life is to win an Olympic medal. Like I said, we’ll see how it goes. The best team has to go for India; there’s no two ways about it,” he said.

Bhupathi did not give a clear answer as to whether there was a possibility of him and Paes coming together before the Olympics.

“You guys seem as confused as the management of Indian tennis today. The Olympics is seven months away. There are a lot of points to be defended, matches to be won, and I think the positive note for India tennis is that they have three options unlike the last few options when they only had two.

I’m sure they’ll make the best decision and send the best team in,” he said.

“You can never say never about anything in life, but the bottom line is that I am playing with Rohan next year and we’ve got a lot of training to do in December before we start in Chennai. We’re both looking forward to it,” he added. -PTI



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