Bhupathi says tennis players to blame for new dope rules

February 13th, 2009 - 9:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 13 (IANS) India’s tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi Friday blamed the players for the new stringent dope rules, saying they had brought it upon themselves by cheating repeatedly.
“Lot of players have been cheating. Players have to cooperate to weed out cheating from sport,” Bhupathi told reporters here.

As per the new rules stipulated by the World Anti doping Agency (WADA) from the start of this year, players ranked in the top-50 have to nominate one hour daily when they will be available for dope testing.

The 34-year-old Bhupathi termed as special his mixed doubles win at the Australian Open partnering Sania Mirza.

“Every Grand Slam win is special. The 1999 Wimbledon win is special as it was my first Grand Slam victory with Leander Paes. Pairing with Sania to win the Australian Open was also special,” said Bhupathi, who has 11 Grand slam doubles crowns - including mixed doubles - to his credit.

Asked whether he was open to partnering Rohan Bopanna, Bhupathi said: “Rohan is a great talent. But he has to climb up the ranking so that I can play with him.”

He said upcoming talent Somdev Devvarman had the potential to break in to the top-50.

On Yuki Bhambri - the new sensation in Indian tennis, Bhupathi said: “He is a raw talent who has to be nurtured”.

Expressing happiness at Sania Mirza’s recent showing, Bhupathi said the first lady of Indian tennis was now high on confidence. “Her performance at Pattaya WTA event (where she has reached the last four) shows she is on the right track”.

The ageing pro said there was little possibility of him turning out in the 2012 Olympics.

“I don’t see myself there. If myself and Leander have to play five Olympics, then something is seriously wrong with Indian tennis.”

Bhupathi also slammed the government for allowing only Indian passport holders to represent the country. “This policy has already spelt disaster (in the women’s team championship) in the Federation Cup. Our top players like Sunitha Rao and Shikha Uberoi have not been able to participate.”

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