Lee-Hesh should continue playing together till London Olympics

Updated: Jan 03, 2011, 18:11 PM IST

Chennai: The reunion of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi should not be restricted to just Australian Open and the two star players should continue playing together till the 2012 London Olympics, India’s Davis Cup captain S P Misra said on Monday.

India’s most successful tennis players have joined forces on the ATP Circuit after nine years in a bid win to that elusive Australian Open trophy.

“It’s their personal decision, (but) if they pull off the Australian Open, they can play together till the London Olympics. And they’ll be the best bet,” Misra told reporters on the sidelines of a felicitation function for Somdev Devvarman, Sanam Singh, Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri.

Paes and Bhupathi will start the new season at Chennai Open, which is India’s only ATP event and Misra advocated the need to have more such tournaments in the country.

“Look at the calibre of the players in the tournament. Players get confidence by participating in such events.”

But Misra also said that having three Indians in the main singles draw was a “big thing.”

Talking about India’s Davis Cup World Group first round against new champions Serbia in March, he said, “It’s a good thing we’ll not be playing in Belgrade. It can be too partisan. When you play the defending champions, you know it’ll be hard but we’ll try very hard and make a fight of it.”

“It is important to do well in singles, (as) our biggest strength is doubles,” he added.

Regarding the Somdev Devvarman-Sanam Singh doubles duo, Misra said “They are combining well. Their groundstrokes are good. If they volley a bit more, it’ll do them good.”

Asked about the duo’s prospects in the Chennai Open, he said they might run into the Bopanna-Qureshi pair in the second round.

“(Bopanna-Qureshi) have been playing very well, they’re a good team, but you never know.”

On Yuki Bhambri, Misra said he would eventually find a permanent place in the Davis Cup team.

“He played magnificently in South Africa to win the reverse singles,” he said, referring to the win over higher ranked South African Izak Van Der Merwe in September 2009.

Bhambri had replaced the injured Paes in the reverse singles tie.