I cherish playing with Bhupathi: Paes

April 11th, 2008 - 11:04 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Tennis ace Leander Paes Friday denied having said that he regretted partnering Mahesh Bhupathi, a media report that sparked fresh row and marred the coming together of the estranged duo who will be seen in action in the Davis Cup tie Saturday after a long gap. Paes said giving such a statement would be utterly silly on his part.

“I never said that I regret playing with Mahesh. I said that I regret having given up my singles career to concentrate on doubles as I was enjoying good run in singles, having won the Pilot Pen International hard court tournament beating top players, including Pete Sampras, and reached the world ranking of 73 in 1998,” Paes said.

A sports website Friday published an interview of Paes in which he was quoted as saying that he sacrificed his singles career for teaming up with Bhupathi and it was the worst decision of his career.

“I have heard about the article but I have not read it. I just know the heading of the story and I must say the headline has been sensationalised,” Paes told reporters at the media briefing after India registered a 2-0 lead in their Davis Cup tie against Japan here Friday.

“At no point of time I regret playing with Mahesh. Making such a statement would be utterly silly,” he added.

Paes’ also said he has already clarified the matter with Bhupathi.

“I have cleared everything with Mahesh in practice today after the match. I told him what exactly I said and what I was quoted as saying.”

Paes said he would cherish every single moment of his partnership with Bhupathi.

“I will always cherish ever moment I played with Mahesh. I will cherish all the Grand Slams we have won together. I gave up singles to be number one in doubles,” he said.

India’s best doubles pair shared a tumultuous past and parted ways after the Doha Asian Games in 2006 after a squabble. Winning an Olympic medal has again brought them closer. They will team up Saturday against Japan in the doubles match in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics in August.

Indian Davis Cup team recently has been hit by one controversy after another and this is the latest addition.

In their last tie against Uzbekistan in February, Bhupathi backed a revolt against Paes by younger team mates who threatened to boycott the ongoing tie against Japan unless Paes was replaced as captain.

“It seems that in every Davis Cup, some sort of controversy creeps up,” Paes said.

Paes said he and Bhupathi are raring to take the courts Saturday against Satoshi Iwabuchi and Takao Suzuki.

“We haven’t played together for a while and we are looking forward to play with each other tomorrow. I will be a nice experience before the Beijing Olympics.”

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