Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


When Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi paired up for the ATP World Doubles in Bangalore

When Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi paired up for the ATP World Doubles in Bangalore

Abhijit Nair

Published: 17 Nov 2020 6:56 AM GMT

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi formed a formidable men’s doubles pair during their playing days. They were the first doubles pair in to reach the finals of all the four Grand Slams in the open era. Though they soon split off due to personal reasons in early 2000, they did partner each other for quite a few times afterwards and one of those was the ATP World Doubles Championships later in the same year at Bangalore.

Paes and Bhupathi were one of the most feared doubles pair during the late 1990s. They were even ranked world number 1 in the year 1999. So, when they decided to part their ways, it came as a huge shock to the tennis loving Indians; and with the ATP World Doubles Championships to be held in the country later that same year, it was considered to be a big blow for Indian Tennis.

But, the pair did not disappoint the fans and decided to team up once again for the ATP event in front of the home crowd. This reunion came on the back of some great efforts from the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) who wrote letters to both the players, convincing them to play together.

“Mahesh is willing to play with Leander in the championship. The KSLTA has written to Leander two days ago seeking his opinion on playing in the championship. It’s for Leander to decide. I hope he will give a serious thought. I want both of them to play together,” Bhupathi’s father Krishna Bhupathi had said then.

The move to pair up worked wonders for Paes and Bhupathi as they stormed into the final of Championship after being seeded eighth at the start of the tournament. They Indian pair though, ended runners-up as they went down to the pair of Donald Johnson and Piet Norval 7-3, 6-3, 6-4 in a thrilling final.

The thing to be noted is that no Indian has ever won the ATP World Doubles Championships (Now, ATP Finals) despite reaching the final seven times. If the pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi finished runners-up thrice in the year 1997, 1999 and 2000 respectively; the pair of Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi finished second best in the year 2012. Other than these, Bopanna reached the final once again in 2015 with Romanian Florin Mergea while Paes played the final in 2005 with the Yugoslavian Nenad Zimonjic and Bhupathi paired up with Belarusian Max Mirnyi in 2010 to finish runners-up.

Read Also: When tennis legend Roger Federer visited tsunami reconstruction project in India

Next Story