Paes and Bhupathi part ways

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Indian tennis duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi has split up once again.

Updated: February 25, 2007 09:27 IST
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India's star doubles players Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have decided to part ways for the second time after a string of disappointing performances lately. "They have not been doing too well in recent weeks. It was Mahesh who decided to opt for a separate partner," Leander's father Vaes Paes said. The senior Paes said Mahesh came up to Leander after the duo's first round loss at Delray Beach tournament last week and expressed his desire to play with a new partner. "Lee was surprised ... But life has to go on," he said. Leander has temporarily teamed up with South African John Laffnie de Jager for the Indian Wells Masters, while Bhupathi has joined forces with Jan Michael Gambill of the US. Asked whether he was hopeful of the two coming together again, Dr Paes said, "The two are a very good doubles team. So I hope whatever decisions they take is the best for them as well as for the country." India's finest doubles combination split for the first time about two years ago, but then decided to team up again in late 2000 after performing below par with different partners. But they suffered a string of reverses during the last five weeks and dropped out of the top ten in the ATP Doubles Champions Race. They had also lost in the round-robin league stage of the World Doubles Challenge in Bangalore. Describing the separation as a "professional" decision, Mahesh's father Krishna Bhupathi said once the two, currently passing through a lean trot, get back to their winning ways, they would join hands again. Mahesh and Leander won just three titles last season, including the French Open. In the Touchtel World Doubles Championship earlier this year, they were expected to stage a comeback but were eliminated in the league phase itself. Bhupathi Senior asserted that Leander and Mahesh would join hands for the coming Davis Cup tie against New Zealand. "There is no question about that," he added. (PTI)

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