Bhupathi – Paes To Split Again?




‘Lee and Hesh’ as they are so fondly called by their fans have always been hot and cold as far as their chemistry is concerned. Almost invincible at one point, they let personal differences get the better of them as they headed down splitsville for the first time 9 years ago. They had reunited this year in an attempt to claim the Australian Open doubles title, the only one which had eluded them so far. The veterans are reportedly on the verge of a split again with Rohan Bopanna expected to partner Bhupathi in the 2012 London Olympics.

Bhupathi - Paes to split again?

Bhupathi – Paes to split again?

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have been the best doubles combination that India has ever produced. The two have many titles together and the period between 1997 and 2001 was the best for them. In 1999, the duo won 3 Grand Slam titles and reached the finals in all the 4 slams, the first time it was achieved since 1952 in the Open era. On 26th April 1999, they became the World No.1 doubles team.

There have been many versions as to why Paes and Bhupathi split in 2002 and the two have till date been tight-lipped about the issue and where exactly it went wrong. The two threatened to part ways over coaching issues and split for good 2 years later. They continued to play with different partners as a result of which it became less appealing to the Indian audience and tennis became less popular. Many maintain that they parted bitterly due to ego clashes but the cause is still unknown.

When Paes and Bhupathi decided to rejoin again for the greater good, the fans were overjoyed. On their reunion, Paes said “We try to make each other look good rather than compete against each other now. Bhupathi accepted to the fact that the two play their best tennis with each other. They started with a title win in Chennai and faltered at the final hurdle in the Australian Open losing to Americans Bob and Mike Bryan. Their last win as of now came in the Cincinnati Open against Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic.

Recently the two lost in the second round of the Paris Masters and are highly doubtful of continuing together in the 2012 season. The speculations throw into question India’s Davis Cup campaign as well as the 2012 London Olympics as the two seem the best bet for India at present with 23 Grand Slams between them. Anil Khanna, AITA Secretary General said, “I have not heard it from either Rohan or Mahesh. Let’s see, but the players have the freedom to choose their partners to play in the circuit”.

Paes and Bhupathi still have to play the season ending ATP Tour Finals in London. On reports of the split the two haven’t revealed much as Paes said, “As things currently stand, Mahesh and me have not yet decided to part ways as such. We have the all-important ATP World Tour Finals that begin on Sunday and after that tournament we will sit down together to have a discussion to decide about our respective futures”. “Not that I know of,” were the few words Mahesh Bhupathi had to say!

Tennis pundits are highly doubtful about India’s prospects in the Davis Cup and the Olympics if this combination is tinkered with. Bopanna and Bhupathi are back-court players and the duo is highly unlikely to finish on the podium if they play together say experts. Indian tennis fans are praying that the two set their differences apart and put their foot for the nation as a whole.

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