I don’t hate Leander, says Bhupathi; Rohan is the backstabber & not his son, clarofies Dr Vece Paes

I don’t hate Leander, says Mahesh Bhupathi, adding that we’ve played some of our best tennis together but it’s just that the communication, camaraderie and preparation required isn’t there between the two of us.

Talking to The DNA, Bhupathi said that my stance was, is and will be the same. “I want to partner Rohan Bopanna at the Olympics. We have earned the right to qualify but, unfortunately, we’ve been left out for no particular reason. Bopanna has also expressed his disappointment. After all, he broke a very successful partnership with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi to partner me. But no one seems to understand that,” says Bhupathi, adding that no one from the AITA has communicated about the possible ban to him directly, but he has only read that in papers.

Meanwhile Sports Minister Ajay Maken on Monday stepped in to solve the crisis in Indian tennis, and suggested that the country should send two men's double teams in the upcoming Olympics. Maken also hinted that he would favour the pairing of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna with Leander Paes teaming up with another player, says a report in The Indian Express.

Maken said his ministry has written to the All India Tennis Federation to resolve the crisis by sending two teams in the London Olympics. "If we are entitled to sending two teams why sending only one? If Sania Mirza gets a wild card (either singles or women's doubles) who will pair with her in the mixed doubles. We have to take into account that Bhupathi and Sania had recently won the French Open mixed doubles title," Maken said.

"We have to look into two things. One, as a layman I feel that if two players in a pair have developed a chemistry between them it would be advisable to have them in a team. Second, we have to see who Sania will pair up in the mixed doubles," he added.

Meanwhile reacting to Mahesh Bhupathi’s accusations that Leander backstabbed him last November, Leander’s father Dr Vece Paes gave a new twist to the episode that it was Rohan who suggested to Leander in Shanghai last October that they should play together in 2012 and also the Olympics, says a report in The Times Of India. “Leander was open to the idea but told Rohan he couldn't guarantee the Olympic pairing as it depended on the AITA. Rohan was supposed to tell Mahesh about his wish to partner Leander, but he dilly-dallied, and when Leander finally broke the news to Mahesh after the World Doubles meet in November, Mahesh exploded. The next we heard was that Rohan and Mahesh would be playing together in 2012. This was the sequence of events. If anyone was doing the backstabbing, it was Rohan... He let Leander down. And to refresh memories, way back in 2002, it was Mahesh who walked out of his partnership with Leander one fine morning, bang in the middle of the season, after the two had lost in the first round of the Delray Beach event.”