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Paes-Bhupathi safe in Rome fire

May 03, 2004 18:45 IST

Indian tennis stars Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi were safe as they had not stayed at the hotel in Rome which caught fire on Saturday killing three persons.

The two players, who were in Rome to take part in the Italian Tennis Masters beginning on Monday, were putting up in a different hotel.

"Mahesh (Bhupathi) was not involved. He was not staying in that hotel," the seven-time Grand Slam champion's spokesperson said from Bangalore.

Paes' father Dr Vece in Kolkata had not been able to reach him but presumed his son's safety since there had been no communication or news reports otherwise.

Bhupathi's partner Max Mirnyi, however, was among those who had to be evacuated. "Max is safe but was shaken," Bhupathi's spokesperson said.

The residents of the Hotel Parco dei Principi ai Parioli were caught off guard by the fire that broke out in the wee  hours of Saturday. They had just enough time to jump out of their bed and get out.

Former French Open Champion Gustav Kuerten of Brazil lost his racquets in the fire while German Tommy Haas, who had taken tablets the previous night, had to be woken up before being rescued.

Bhupathi and Mirnyi are seeded third at the 2.43 million Euro clay court ATP event. Paes and David Rikl of the Czech Republic are unseeded and feature in the top half of the draw.

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