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Bhupathi keen to pair with Paes for Tata Open

November 27, 2003 17:41 IST

Tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi has indicated he is keen to team up with estranged doubles partner Leander Paes at the Tata Open, to be played in Chennai from January 5 to 11, and a few other events in 2004.

"I am not sure yet about Paes's availability. I have already talked to Paes and waiting to hear from him. If he is healthy it is good to play with him as we want to have a few matches together before the Athens Olympics," he told a press conference to announce the field for the Tata Open.

Paes is recovering from a parasitic infection in his brain, which has kept him out of action since August.

Bhupathi said he will continue partnering Max Mirnyi of Belarus next year.

"I will be playing most of the next year with Mirnyi and a few [events] with Paes."

Replying to a question, he said Mirnyi was never an option for the Tata Open and added he has no back-up if Paes is unable to play.

The ATP fourth-ranked doubles player, who won two gold medals in last month's Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad, said he would wait for Paes to recover before finalising plans.

Bhupathi combined with Todd Woodbridge of Australia last year at the Tata Open, but the pair crashed out in the semi-finals.

Asked about last season, when he and Mirnyi finished No.2 despite failing to win any of the three Grand Slams events they played in, Bhupathi replied: "It was a great year. We reached 10 finals, though we were a little disappointed not to have won a Grand Slam."

Stating that the pair came close to the Wimbledon title, he said he is looking forward to start the next year on a victorious note.

On the field for the Tata Open, he said it is a good mix of youth and experience.

"Definitely good to be back in Chennai. I am excited about the strong field. The players come for the first tournament of the season and they will like to start with a win," Bhupathi added.

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