Bhupathi sends signal of not teaming up with Paes again

Kolkata: Indian tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi on Wednesday said he was working on the technicalities with his new doubles partner Rohan Bopanna, sending a clear signal once again that he was not keen on teaming up with Leander Paes ahead of the London Olympics.

"We have to adapt to each other. We`ve a long season ahead. He has proved himself at the highest level both as a singles and doubles player. So I don`t think it will be much of a concern," Bhupathi said about Bopanna.

With Bopanna, Bhupathi had made a pre-quarterfinal exit in the recently-held Australian Open.

"It`s nothing to be decided by me or Leander. AITA has to decide the best team available for the Olympics," he said about their possible partnership in the July 27-August 12 London Games.

Bhupathi hailed Paes` Australian Open triumph that completed a career Grand Slam, describing him as a wine that gets better with age.

"The guy (Leander Paes) is just getting better with age... just like wine."

The pair of Paes and Bhupathi, after their split in 2006, joined hands ahead of the 2011 Australian Open, only to split late last year.

While the Bhupathi-Bopanna duo crashed out in the Australian Open pre-quarters, Leander along with Czech Radek Stepanek won the title.

A winner of 11 Grand Slams, Bhupathi has never won an Olympic medal and the closest he came was along with Paes in Athens 2004, when they lost in the marathon bronze medal play-off match.

"I cannot compare the two (Olympic and Grand Slam) as I`m yet to win an Olympic medal. But I can say that if I miss an Olympic medal, but do well in the Wimbledon then I won`t call it a bad year," the 37-year-old said.

Asked about the future of Indian tennis, Bhupathi picked Delhi youngster Sumit Nagal who had won the Under-14 boys American Cup tennis championship at the Miccosukee Tennis Club in Miami, Florida late last year.

"Somdev Devvarman is doing well, but he is not young anymore. But we have some bright prospects in Yuki (Bhambri) and Sumit Nagal.

"They are excellent prospects. Nagal is the brightest young talent I`ve seen. At his age (14) I did not even think of winning a U-18 title," Bhupathi said about Nagal`s triumph in the recently-held NRE-ITF Junior here.

Nagal, incidentally, received hundred per cent sponsorship from Bhupathi.


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