Indian tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi has broken the silence on his split with Leander Paes, saying it was his partner’s decision to part ways in the same year when they re-reunited on the court after nine years.
The Indian-Express announced their latest split last week and will be seen in action in 2012 with different partners. Paes is likely to team up with Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek while Bhupathi will play with compatriot Rohan Bopanna, who has parted with long-time partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan.
"I guess everyone has their own opinion. Leander just felt that we were possibly a little too old on the tour and not able to gel on a consistent basis. He felt that our team needed fresh legs on either side. That was his point of view," Bhupathi told CNN-IBN.
Paes-Bhupathi had joined hands at the start of the year in their bid to win the Australian Open, the lone Grand Slam they have not won in their doubles career. They got back also keeping in sight the 2012 London Olympics.
Bhupathi said he was at loss of words explaining the rationale behind Leander’s decision.
"It is very hard for me to explain that decision. It wasn’t my decision. When we started playing last year the Olympics was a goal, Australia and the World Championships were a goal, and I had a feeling we would see our careers into the sunset.
"But as I said, Leander has a difference of opinion and I have to respect that. We are professionals and at the end of the day we both love to compete and to win and we do whatever it takes to get the best out of both of us. There is no fallout," he said.
The split comes with the London Olympics just nine months away and Bhupathi hoped that the best doubles team from India will compete at the 2012 Games.
"I am a firm believer that the Olympics is the biggest stage and for that you need to prepare really well because the hardest thing in life is to win an Olympic medal. Like I said, we will see how it goes. The best team has to go for India; there are no two ways about it," he said.
Bhupathi did not rule out partnering Paes in the future.
"You can never say never about anything in life, but the bottom line is that I am playing with Rohan next year and we have got a lot of training to do in December before we start in Chennai. We are both looking forward to it," he said.(IANS)