I think it’s time to start thinking about winning Grand Slam singles, says Mahesh Bhupathi

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I think it’s time to start thinking about winning Grand Slam singles, says Mahesh Bhupathi

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SportsCafe Desk

01/27/2019

Mahesh Bhupathi claims that Indian youngsters must shift their efforts from succeeding in the doubles' category and work towards winning a Grand Slam title in the singles’ category in the near future. Bhupathi also spoke about Indian veterans, Leander Paes and Sania Mirza, in a recent interview.

Indian tennis ace, Mahesh Bhupathi, was the first Indian to win a Grand Slam tournament as he made his way to the French Open trophy in 1997 with partner Rika Haraki. In the years to follow, Bhupathi and compatriot Leander Paes took Indian tennis to new heights as they pulled off memorable wins in the doubles’ category during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s.

However, the former Indian tennis player claimed that it was high time that Indian youngsters should shift their focus from succeeding in the doubles’ category and focus on winning a grand slam title in the singles’ category.

"Do you really want people to win doubles Grand Slams? We have won like 30 of them. I think it's time to start talking about singles. I don't think anybody will get excited if anybody wins anymore doubles Grand Slams.

"Between Leander, Sania, me and Rohan, we have got 30-35 Grand Slams. It's time for people to start winning in the singles Grand Slams main draw," Bhupathi said in an interview with PTI.

At present, India has only four Grand Slam winners, and all of them are in doubles. Bhupathi is the second-most successful Indian tennis player with 12 major trophies, with Leander Paes in the lead with 19 trophies.

The Indian veteran went on to talk about former partner Paes, even though the duo maintain less than cordial relations amongst themselves. Bhupathi reckons that Paes’ still has the fire and hunger to succeed and will be in the mix for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

"He's very hungry and you can see the motivation when he played in Pune (Tata Open Maharashtra) and in Australian Open. He's still got a lot of fire left in him. I think he will play the next Olympics for sure. He's got a great chance. But it depends on his ranking. Whoever is ranked highest will make it. There's no doubt about it. The cutoff for the Olympics is very high," Bhupathi added.

Meanwhile, the Indian great also spoke about another veteran tennis player - Sania Mirza. Bhupathi suggested that it won’t be easy for Sania to make her comeback after she recently gave birth to her first baby. However, Bhupathi cited the example of leading American ace, Serena Williams, as motivation for Sania to focus on her return in the coming months.

"There's a strong chance that Sania is coming back by the end of this year. Hopefully, Sania and Rohan will play mixed again. We all wish to see her back obviously. Because she was the flagbearer for Indian tennis. I met Sania last week. I know she's thinking about it. But it's going to take five or six months' of work. So let's see how it goes.

"It's obviously very difficult. But if you make up your mind and put in the hard work, anything is possible," Bhupathi added.

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