Mumbai: “Blame it on the system”. Is what the former tennis champion Mahesh Bhupathi had to say about the dearth of young talents picking up the tennis rackets in recent times. Talking to FPJ, the former Davis Cupper, Bhupathi — along with Leander Paes has been the opponents' envy and country’s pride when it came to doubles challenge across the globe, said the system in India is to be blamed.
“Yes, it is and I feel it sad,” Bhupathi said. “I would say because of the system, there are no serious takers for the game. We do have talent, but there is no system to nurture them,” added Bhupathi, who along with Paes, has three doubles titles, including the French Open and Wimbledon. And they became the first doubles team to reach the finals of all four Grand Slam, the first time such a feat was achieved in the open era since 1952.
And as the teams settle at the Olympic village for the Tokyo Olympics India’s challenge in tennis will be spearheaded by Sania Mirza and young star Ankita Raina as they set to represent the country in women’s doubles event. Sania is on the threshold of becoming the first female athlete to represent India at four Olympics, while Ankita Raina will be making her debut at the show-piece event.
Talking about the Indian contingent for the Tokyo Olympics, Bhupathi said medals prospects look bright and gives us reasons to cheer.
There has been a the drought of medals at the global mega sporting event over the years, but this contingent appears better and has performed well overseas in the little exposure that they have had during the pandemic. And this is a feel good factor.
Many pundits have predicted medals in various disciplines, which Mahesh Bhupathi also supports and says 'rest assured our athletes will come back with medals'.
Picking up some of the events, the former India tennis player says shooting, wrestling and archery are the events, which will see Indians at the podium.
Not forgetting our national sport, hockey, Bhupathi said men and women would be a real threat to rivals from around the globe.
Ironically, there is not much he could predict about tennis, which has brought him and many others fame. “It is sad but we have to live with it,” said the champion.
Reunion of Paes-Bhupathi
Indian tennis stars Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi will be back in action, this time not on the court but outside as their partnership and the the seemingly bitter break-up will soon become history. Thanks to husband-wife director duo, Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Nitesh Tiwari, who are set to unite Bhupathi and Paes for their sports docu-drama based on the on-court and off-court relationship between the two sporting legends.
The latest docu-series will narrate the story of the duo’s friendship, passion for the sport, the intricacies of their relationships and the strains on it in the context of unparalleled success. The duo was one of the most-feared doubles pairs back in the 1990s, and were top-ranked in the year 1999.
“This is no April Fool joke but something very special,” said Bhupathi, without revealing much about the series.
The dynamic duo, Bhupathi and Paes, over two decades has seen a sensitive mix of achievement, conflict, success, disappointments and friendship.