Hesh and I are good friends: Leander Paes

Melbourne, Jan 19 (IANS) Leander Paes, India’s never-give-up tennis star, said he hopes to work well under the captaincy of his former doubles partner Mahesh Bhupathi since “we are good friends”.

“I don’t forsee any problem. I will remain calm and collected,” he told IANS a few hours after he lost in the first round of the doubles event at the Australian Open in three sets.

Bhupathi has been appointed captain of the Davis Cup team and he will take over from Anand Amritraj after the India-New Zealand match in Pune in the first week of February.

Paes was chosen for this tie ahead of Rohan Bopanna, who is known to be a Bhupathi camper. Chances of Bopanna’s comeback to the team are high under Bhupathi and, in this scenario, Leander will have to be dropped from the team. Rohanna is unlikely to partner Paes in any match in the future.

Paes gave no indication of slowing down and said that he worked especially hard in preparation for this year. “I have a good team, trainer, coach and my father. No one sees the hard work I put in. I know what it takes to survive at this level,” he said.

He hopes to play the entire year with his Brazilian partner but nothing long-term has been decided and they will take it one event at a time, he said.

His mixed-doubles partnership with Martina Hingis is going strong and Leander hopes for a top-level finish at the Australian Open.

Leander admitted that it is getting tougher in doubles competition since most of the top-ranking singles players are also now opting to play doubles as well.

“Every game is tough. You saw today that we were up most of the time. But at crucial moments we couldn’t score. It’s very tough out there,” he said.

–IANS

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