Beaten, but Paes talks about a sixth Olympics in 2012

August 15th, 2008 - 8:33 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Roger Federer
By V. Krishnaswamy
Beijing, Aug 15 (IANS) Barely half an hour after another crushing Olympic loss and with his dream of a doubles medal lying in tatters, Leander Paes was still hopeful of coming back for a sixth Olympic Games. “It is something that I have been thinking about. I will only be 39 and there are many athletes here over 40. So if I can keep my fitness and enthusiasm, I see no reason why I cannot be here (in Olympics in London in 2012) in four years,” Paes said.

But Mahesh Bhupathi, who was initially reluctant to partner Paes for the Olympics before being persuaded to join him, said: “I don’t know what I am doing next year so what I can say about four years. Maybe if I am playing top tennis in 2011, it is possible. The Commonwealth Games are at home, so that would be nice.”

But not even for a moment did they commit that they might come together again. A partnership that brought a lot of pride for Indian tennis may never enter the court together again.

After being swept aside by Roger Federer and Stanislas Warwinka, Paes admitted: “I have spent more than half hour trying to figure out what else we could have done. They were in great form.”

“I was not surprised the way Federer came out all prepared last night, even though it was 12.20. It seemed they had planned out a strategy and knew how we played. They may have spoken to someone who has played us.”

Bhupathi though felt they were undone by two top class players.

“I don’t think we played badly. We were up against the world’s best player and with him is a player who is not missing anything. So we just got stuck with them so unbelievably well.”

The Indian pair had interestingly got past Federer in Athens, when he played doubles with Yves Allegro. “It was sweet revenge because I lost to them (with Yves) four years ago,” said Federer, who is out of the singles.

Wawrinka, who often gets glossed over because of his World No. 1 partner, Federer, is having a great season. Serving strongly and closing in on points quickly, he showed why he reached as high as No. 9 in singles this year in June. He had reached the final of the Masters Series event in Rome - where he lost to Novak Djokovic - and also made the fourth round in both French Open and Wimbledon.

Playing in the august company of Federer, he seemed to be learning, as well as showing the master, what he is capable of. The two Swiss players complimented each other very well.

Federer, winner of 14 Grand Slams, but still looking for his first Olympic medal, added: “We expected it to be tougher, but in a best-out-of-three set doubles match anything can happen and we know that. But we have a great challenge ahead of us.”

“I think the lead (4-1) was important. It was good to sleep well and start off with a positive mindset and continue what we have been doing. Hopefully it’s going to work out,” Federer said when asked about the singles loss and then taking a lead in the wee hours before the match was rescheduled due to rain.

Wawrinka did not hide his pleasure at being able to play with World No. 1.

“Its incredible. I have a chance to play with the No. 1, with Roger. Its great to be together on the court and hear the crowd root at the Olympics.”

“It’s been a great tournament. We have played very well, and we’ve improved a lot during the last match. They (Paes and Bhupathi) were a very tough team in doubles.”

But for the Indian fans, it was the death of yet another medal dream.

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