Kolkata: With the growing demand that Sachin Tendulkar should be bestowed with Bharat Ratna, tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi said on Tuesday that the cricket maestro is above all these awards.
Here in the city with wife Lara Dutta, Bhupathi said, "He is too great a person for awards. Awards come and go, that's secondary. It will not reflect his contribution to the Indian cricket."
When the doubles ace was quizzed on what keeps him going at the age of 36, he answered that he and Leander Paes still have the insatiable hunger to win.
"Our motivation is to win. We still enjoy winning... as long as the hunger there no title is out of your reach," said the winner of 11 Grand Slam titles.
Bhupathi said he along with Paes are now looking forward to Madrid Open beginning in May.
"Then we have a tournament in Rome a week later. Our preparation is going good and we are looking forward on fitness."
Asked about their goals together with Olympics next year, Bhupathi said, "Let's get ourselves picked first. Then we can think of going ahead."
He also had words of praise for Somdev Devvarman and Sania Mirza.
"Somdev is young. He has already made into the top 100 (71). At this level, he is extremely talented. We can't really put a number on him. He needs to continue with the way he is performing."
On her protege Sania, Bhupathi said, "She is doing well in singles also. I am sure her rankings will improve with more Grand Slam appearances."