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Don’t know what all the fuss surrounding Leander Paes is about, claims Mahesh Bhupathi

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Don’t know what all the fuss surrounding Leander Paes is about, claims Mahesh Bhupathi

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SportsCafe Desk

12/05/2018

Mahesh Bhupathi played down all the buzz surrounding Leander Paes’ absence from the Indian tennis contingent at this year’s Asian Games competition which was held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Bhupathi added that Paes was not at 100 per cent fitness which made him a liability during the Games in Jakarta.

After Paes pulled out of the quadrennial Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang at the last moment, a lot of rumors that hinted towards an internal rift sprung up in various media outlets. A few inside sources also speculated that Paes had not been given a doubles’ pairing of his choice which is why he backed out from the competition.

However, India's Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi, quashed such rumors as he claimed that Paes was not 100 per cent fit because of which the latter opted against participating at the games in Jakarta. 

“He was injured. He had played a local tournament just before the Asian Games and he pulled out prior to Jakarta. Would you rather have me playing a semi-fit player than a fully fit one,” he added, addressing the question on Paes’ pull-out.

“Sumit (Nagal) has also been injured many times. Yuki (Bhambri) has been pulled out before. This isn’t unique to Leander,” said Bhupathi on the sidelines of a KIA Motors event in New Delhi.

In Paes’ absence, it was the two highest ranked doubles players Divij Sharan and Rohan Bopanna who brought home the gold for Team India. Bhupathi, who was the first Indian to win a Grand Slam title, lavished praise on the Indian tennis contingent for their performances this year.

“Leander’s contribution would have been in doubles only. Divij and Rohan brought home the gold, so I don’t know what the fuss is about.

“Indian tennis has never been this strong. We have never had this depth in singles. Prajnesh (Gunneswaran), Ram (Kumar Ramanathan) and Yuki (Bhambri) have all done great this year. Ankita (Raina) and Karman (Kaur Thandi) also look to be performing well. India won three medals in tennis at the Asian Games, including two individual bronze medals in singles,” Bhupathi added.

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