Melbourne: Veteran India tennis player Leander Paes on Sunday said while the Bryan brothers are undoubtedly one of the greatest teams of all times, the race is always open in the men's doubles competition.
Bob and Mike Bryan clinched the Australia Open, French Open and Wimbledon men's doubles titles last year, while Paes and his Czech partner Radek Stepanek won the US Open.
"I think the race is always open. It's just the first Grand Slam of the year. But what the boys (Bryans) did last year was spectacular, winning three Grand Slams and (making) a semis. They had a great run. There is no doubt that they are one of the greatest teams of all times. I respect them a lot," said Paes.
Paes said a lot of new teams have emerged on the circuit and it would be too early to comment on the fresh season.
"At the same time, the challenge of this year is that a lot of old teams have come back together or the new teams that are playing are very aggressive, very potent in their style of playing. Being the first Grand Slam of the year, a wonderful year of tennis is ahead of us. Will answer that as we get to September," Paes told 'ATP World Tour'.
Asked how it felt to be back at the Australian Open, the same venue where he and Stepanek won the men's doubles title two years ago, Paes said, "For me, just to be on the same side of the net with Radek is a lot of fun. We enjoy our lives, work really hard as professionals on the court, make the most of all the opportunities we got, so sharing the court with this young man over here is great fun."
On two-time Grand Slam champion Pat Rafter's return from 13 years in retirement at the Australian Open, Paes said, "Pat's a great champion, one of the great players of the game, one of the nicest guys of the game. It was nice to see him on his home court here."
Stepanek said that he and Paes had been picking and choosing tournaments as they wanted to spend quality time on the court.
"Everytime we step out on the court, we give our best, we prefer spending a quality time on the court rather than the quantity and that's what we are doing with our tournaments, we are picking them," said Stepanek.