Paes-Bhupathi in quest of Olympic glory

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:08 IST

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi face a tricky first round match against American pair of Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish in the men's doubles tennis event.

Paes-Bhupathi in quest of Olympic glory

Athens:

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi face a tricky first round match against American pair of Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish in the men's doubles tennis as they begin their quest for Olympic glory here tomorrow. The 'Indian Express', seeded fifth, reunited on the professional circuit after a gap of more than two years recently to prepare for the Games where in the very first match they would have to negotiate the 200 mph serves of World Number 2 singles player Roddick. Tough challenge If they see through this first round challenge, Paes and Bhupathi might run into World Number 1 Roger Federer and his Swiss partner Yves Allegro in the second round before a potential semifinal showdown with second seeded Australian pair Wayne Arthurs and Todd Woodbridge. The other half of the 32-size draw features top seeds Bob and Mike Bryans of the US, French duo Fabrice Santoro and Michael Llodra, and the Czech Republic's Martin Damm and Cyril Suk. "Roddick is one of the leading singles player in the world. Although they are not seeded here, they will be tough. But we are confident. We'll give our best shot," Bhupathi, ranked fifth in the world in doubles, said on the tough draw. Drawing confidence But the Indians must be drawing confidence from their stunning victory in the Toronto Masters two weeks ago in their first event together in 27 months. Bhupathi has maintained that the natural bonding and chemistry between Paes and him has always been there and a few tough matches as preparation would get them into groove. The former world number one pair, who split in 2002, have been coming together for team events like the Busan Asian Games where they won the gold two years ago and have not lost a match in Davis Cup play. Gunning for gold For Paes, who won the singles bronze in Atlanta in 1996, playing in fourth Olympics is by itself a promise fulfilled. And, considering his six-month layoff from a brain lesion last year, merely being back on court is an achievement. Between them, Paes and Bhupathi have won 13 Grand Slam titles, but both have acknowledged that their sporting career would not be complete without an Olympic gold. In Atlanta, they were too raw to make an impact. And in Sydney, they were too estranged to produce a winning combination. The pair then would be determined to make it third time lucky in Athens. (PTI)



Topics : Tennis India
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