Mahesh Bhupathi advises players to focus more on singles rather than doubles

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Mahesh Bhupathi advises players to focus more on singles rather than doubles

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SportsCafe Desk

04/09/2018

Mahesh Bhupathi has slammed Indian singles players - Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal - for not showing any aggression against China at the zonal level of Davis cup 2018. The 43-year-old has also asked the players to try improving their singles game instead of focusing more on doubles events.

Indian players Ramkumar Ramanathan and Sumit Nagal received shocking defeats on the opening day of the round 2 of Davis Cup 2018. More than the loss, it was their lack of temperament and aggression, which seemed to have dented the duo in the crucial encounter. After observing the game from the close quarters, the team’s non-playing captain, Bhupathi described their performance as shocking. 

“It was disappointing display by both. No hunger, no fight and no aggression,” Bhupathi told PTI.

"We need to win three matches to win a tie, one of them could be doubles. But four of the five matches are singles, that's where we need to get strong," Bhupathi said.

Bhupathi also spoke about his one-time partner-in-crime and the other side of the much fabled “Indian Express” Leander Paes, who recently broke 84-year-old Italian Nicola Pietrangeli's record of most doubles wins, raising the bar to 43-13. 

Although the relationship between Paes and Bhupathi has been on a downward spiral ever since Paes’ open admission of feud with his former partner, Bhupathi put everything behind and praised the legendary player for his performance.

"I am happy for Paes, but I think players must be think about singles games more rather than doubles event. I have been working with a group of five-six singles players, looking at options. Ranking doesn't matter for me, and I don't choose a team depending on ranking, but on looking at the opposition."

While India’s doubles prowess has been decent at the world stage, much to the performance of the likes of Paes, Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna, and Sania Mirza, Indian singles stars are slowly creating a niche for themselves with constant qualification to the main rounds of the Grand Slam and Masters 1000 tournaments. And Bhupathi hoped that the likes of Ramanathan and Bhambri will be able to change that trend to establish India as a singles power.

"We haven't had a sustained singles presence in Grand Slams. I'm looking forward to Yuki, Ramkumar and the rest changing that. Getting into main draws and winning a couple of rounds, keeping home interest alive."

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