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Bhupathi says he'll play for India again

Last updated on: November 03, 2006 23:22 IST

Barely a month after saying he will not play for India again, Mahesh Bhupathi has done an about turn and declared himself available for national duty.

The multiple Grand Slam winner said his burning desire to play for the country forced him to change his mind.

Bhupathi said the decision not to play for India came out of utter frustration owing to several reasons; not being paired with Sania Mirza for the mixed doubles event at the Doha Asian Games was one of them.

Also see: Will Mahesh alter his decision?

"I have always wanted to play for India. It (the decision not to play for the country) was just out of frustration," Bhupahti said in Delhi on Friday.

Last month he created a flutter by announcing that he would not play for India again. The announcement took his former doubles partner, Leander Paes, and top tennis officials by surprise.

'I am not playing. I had a person-to-person chat with Anil Khanna (secretary-general of the All India Tennis Association) when he was in Mumbai. I think they respect my decision.

'It was due to a bunch of factors. I made the decision based on all circumstances around me,' he had said.

Among the factors he listed were his ambition to win the Australian Open and the feeling that the Davis Cup team could manage without him in the zonal ties.

Both these, however, were tied to a third and most important factor, his inability to renew his partnership with Paes on the ATP Tour.

'I spoke to Leander during the ATP event (in Mumbai) and he said that after winning the US Open with [Martin] Damm it would be difficult for him to break that pairing. Maybe if they had not won the US Open, things might have been different. But, fortunately or unfortunately, they won,' he had said.

On the current development because of which he reversed his decision, Bhupathi said things are on the right track.

"I obviously spoke to a lots of people, Mr Khanna, Mr Kalmadi etc. I think things are falling into place."

The Bangalorean said his former doubles partner Paes did not have any role in changing his decision.

"No, we have not had a chat since the Mumbai tournament. I will see him in Doha again, before I play."

But he added that there is remote chance of Paes and him coming together again.

"It's a long shot. Obviously, he has got his priorities towards Martin Damm next year. I will hopefully finalise in the next two or three weeks who I am going to play with next year.

You know once you make that commitment it is tough to shell off and play with someone else."

Bhupathi said he was disappointed to know that he had not been paired with Sania for the Doha Asian Games.

"Of course, it was a disappointment. Sania is the best female player in the country. You know both of us wanted to play with her. But having said that I am going to play with Shikha."

Bhupathi said he was also disappointed with the way the AITA treated him.

"Yes, because I felt that I deserve the better reason, but I am going to respect the decision made," he said.

The doubles specialist said he would take a backseat during India's Davis Cup campaign.

"I am definitely going to take back seat and let the kids get in the team get the opportunity to play. But if they get to the next level and need me in World Group, I will definitely be available."

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