rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Sports » Guess I will have to die without an Olympic medal: Bhupathi

Guess I will have to die without an Olympic medal: Bhupathi

Last updated on: August 1, 2012 15:56 IST

Guess I'll have to die without an Olympic medal: Bhupathi

     Next

Next
Harish Kotian

It was not the ideal end to Mahesh Bhupathi's Olympic dream. First there was the huge fiasco over team selection ahead of the Games; then, despite getting his preferred partner, Rohan Bopanna, he could last only two matches on the historic grass courts of Wimbledon.

And, following the second round defeat in London on Tuesday his disappointment was perceptible. He even appeared to have shed a few tears after being knocked out of the men's doubles in his last appearance at the Olympics.

"I guess I will have to die without an Olympic medal. It is definitely something that is not going to be in the cupboard. We gave it a good shot, not only this time, but the last four times as well. I think we came close three Olympics ago. This time I definitely stand by what we prepared for and what we continued to do for the last seven months and came here with the ideal preparation," said Bhupathi.

"It is a tough pill to swallow. I am just disappointed," he added.

Bhupathi and Bopanna crashed out of the men's doubles, losing 3-6, 4-6 to the French pair of Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet, both singles specialists.


Image: Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna after their loss at the London Olympics on Tuesday
Photographs: Harish Kotian / Redifff.com

     Next

'I have let the team down today'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

They have themselves to blame for not coming to the Olympics in the best frame of mind. Both were part of one of the worst controversies in Indian tennis which affected every player selected for the Games.

They triggered off the drama by refusing to partner senior pro Leander Paes in the men's doubles. They reasoned that they believed their best chance of winning a medal at the Olympics was playing alongside each other. A lot followed and the duo even blackmailed Indian tennis officials who relented to their wishes and sent two teams, forcing Paes to team with lowly-ranked Vishnu Vardhan.

Paes was the highest-ranked doubles player at that point and had the choice of partners, but, in the end, was forced to partner Vardhan. The AITA compensated him by pairing Sania Mirza with him for the mixed doubles.

Senior pro Bhupathi took the blame for the crushing defeat.

"Personally, I am very disappointed with the way I played. For the last 15 years I was proud of the fact that under pressure I have been able to deliver, but today I wasn't. I got to give a lot of credit to Rohan; he played really well in the last two matches. I just feel that I have let the team down today," he said.

Image: Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna in action during their second rounnd match against Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet on Tuesday
Photographs: Harish Kotian / Redifff.com

Prev     Next

'The mind wanted, the heart wanted it, but the limbs stopped moving'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"We definitely had our chances. I was very disappointed with the way I played, especially on the big points. Rohan continued to give me lot of chances, but I was not able to deliver on the big points and that definitely cost us the match," the 38-year-old added.

Bhupathi also gave a pointer that the end of his career is on the horizon and his aging body is finding it difficult to adjust to the demands of the game.

"Honestly, as I said before, the way Rohan played if I didn't get tight the result would have been different. That is how bad I wanted it. The mind wanted, the heart wanted it, but the limbs stopped moving. So, unfortunately, we came out on the wrong end," he said.

Bopanna insisted that he deserved to play at the Olympics and tried to justify his stance which caused the selection row.


Image: Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna in action during their second rounnd match against Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet on Tuesday
Photographs: Harish Kotian / Redifff.com

Prev     Next

'I sacrificed partnership with Aisam to partner Hesh at the Olympics'

Prev     More
Prev

More

"We were mentally prepared from the very beginning and prepared as hard as we could. I sacrificed a huge partnership with Aisam Qureshi to partner Hesh [Bhupathi] and represent India at the Olympics, so even though we lost we came well-prepared," he said.

In the end, it is more of embarrassment than the pain of defeat that appears to be hurting both Bhupathi and Bopanna.

Meanwhile, Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan are still in the running after their doubles match was postponed to Wednesday.

They were scheduled to play another French duo, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Michael Llodra, but because of Tsonga had featured in a long singles match, it was postponed.

Tsonga edged past Milos Raonic of Canada in a thrilling encounter 6-3, 3-6, 25-23, the third set alone stretching three hours for a total match time of nearly five hours.

Image: Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna in action during their second rounnd match against Frenchmen Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet on Tuesday
Photographs: Harish Kotian / Redifff.com

Prev     More