Chennai Open: Bopanna hopes for success with new partner Hesh

December 27th, 2011 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Rohan Bopanna Chennai, Dec 27 (IANS) Rohan Bopanna and his new tour doubles partner Mahesh Bhupathi would be needing all their combined experience to mesh as an effective unit since both prefer the hard court as the pair prepares for the 2012 Aircel Chennai Open here Jan 2-8.

“This was a conscious decision on our part as we had our eyes set on the London Olympics,” Bhupathi said.

“I have known Hesh (Bhupathi) since I played my first Davis Cup match in 2002, so we go back a long way. I have also played a few tournaments with him in the past, and we do share an excellent rapport.

“From my experience with Aisam (former partner Quereshi), I know that being friends pays rich dividends on the court, so I am hoping our camaraderie comes through on court.

“We are practising hard to better understand each other’s games and I am sure the efforts will pay off. It feels good to start off the season in front of our home crowd, with good support,” Bopanna said.

Bopanna and Pakistan’s Quereshi had a solid 2011 season with three titles, including the Paris Masters, and qualified for the year-end World Tour finals in London.

The “Indo-Pak Express” story had been quite a surprise package, hit the road running, and sailed into the 2010 US Open doubles final.

Bopanna said the focus would be on the 2012 Olympics and to this end, he had split with Quereshi, but asserted that it was too early to be talking about reuniting with the Pakistani.

“In 2012, Aisam and I will be forming two new, different partnerships and we have to see how well they shape up. So, like all good professional athletes the focus is going be on the next season. The 2013 season is still a long way off to talk about,” said Bopanna, who would be seeking his first doubles title win at the Chennai Open after reaching the final in 2006 along with Prakash Amritraj.

“The Chennai Open is always a challenging tournament as it is the beginning of the season and coming from the off-season, you have to find you rhythm from the start to do well. Chennai also provides with just the right amount of competition and is a great start to the year,” he said.

Bhupathi and Bopanna along with Paes and his Serbian partner Janko Tipsarevic are the top two seeded pairs and will start as strong favorites.

“It feels really great to be considered the favorites, but the tag comes with its own share of expectations and pressures. Thankfully, I am no stranger to this kind of pressure.

“I am eagerly looking forward to the London Olympics. My calendar for 2012 is not as packed as it has been in the past couple of years, since I am in a better position to pick the tournaments I will participate in.

“Also, we are taking a month off after Wimbledon to prepare for the Olympics. Every match is just getting you match ready for another match, so the more we play (though within limits) will always be good,” he said.

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