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Can India win an Olympic medal in tennis?

November 10, 2015 17:33 IST

India's Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes

IMAGE: India's Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes. Photograph: Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

India have a good chance of winning medals in both, men's doubles and mixed-doubles events, at next year's Rio Olympics, feels former player Mahesh Bhupathi.

"Men's doubles and mixed-doubles -- in both we have a good chance (of winning medals). Rohan (Bopanna) and Leander (Paes) are both world-class players (who will be the men's doubles partners), so why not," said Bhupathi in Mumbai on Tuesday.

The former doubles star, who forged a great partnership with Paes to win many Grand Slam titles, shared the views of another ex-Davis Cup star, Ramesh Krishnan, that India'e best chances of a medal was in the mixed-doubles, in which Paes is expected to partner Sania Mirza.

Bhupathi praised Sania's stupendous display in women's doubles partnering Swiss ace Martina Hingis.

Sania Mirza (left) and Martina Hingis discuss strategy between points

IMAGE: Sania Mirza (left) and Martina Hingis discuss strategy between points. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

"Inspirational, if I have to say one word (about Saina's performance). She has really worked hard over the last three years, not only this year, putting herself in positions to win finals of Grand Slams.

"All the hard work needed someone to complement her perfectly and Martina and she complement each other perfectly. I think they are going to win many Grand Slams over the next two years," the 41-year-old former player added.

Sania and Martina won nine doubles titles this year, including Wimbledon, US Open and season-ending WTA finals, and for the Indian it was her tenth title overall during 2015.

Bhupathi sounded upbeat about Indian tennis scene, citing Yuki Bhambri's rise into the top 100 of men's singles.

He also singled out Wimbledon boys' doubles champion Sumit Nagal of Haryana and 17-year-old girl Karman Kaur Thandi as the players to watch out for.

"Yuki is now 89 in the world, so we have someone who is going to play in the main draw of Grand Slam in men's singles. Sumit and Karman are both the future of tennis in men and women for us. Things are going (well)," he added.

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