Paes unsure of his doubles partner

Paes unsure of his doubles partner

Without naming Mahesh Bhupathi, Paes talked a lot about available options in the Indian team and said non-playing captain S P Mishra would take the call as to who will partner him on the second day of the tie on Saturday.

“It is good to have options and it is going to be tough on the captain to decide. I have full confidence in S P Mishra whom I have known for many years. He has been our lucky captain and so it is up to him to decide,” said Paes, who has scripted many memorable victories for India in Davis Cup.

“For sure, this tie is something special for me. I still remember my first match in Davis Cup against Japan in Jaipur. It was 18-16 in the fifth set and we won the tie,” he said on the doubles match he won along with Zeeshan Ali as India beat Japan 4-1.

Within an hour of his arrival here this afternoon, Paes was at the SAF Games Tennis Stadium with other members of the Indian Davis Cup squad for a three-hour workout.
With Bhupathi scheduled to arrive late on Tuesday night only, Paes trained with Rohan Bopanna, whose morale is on a high having finished runner-up in the US Open doubles on Saturday.

Into his 21st season in Davis Cup play, Paes, also traced his memorable wins. “There are so many of those, but I particularly remember my win against (Goran) Ivanisevic (1995, vs Croatia in Delhi), Frejus of course (vs France in 1992) and there was what I feel was the cleanest tie I have ever played against Jan Siemerink (vs Netherlands in 1996), when I won all my three sets on tie-break,” Paes said.

“As a kid, I always wanted to be an Olympian and play for my country. I am happy that I was able to achieve that,” said Paes, who like his father Vece, is a bronze medallist at the Olympics. Vece was part of the Indian hockey team that won the bronze at the 1972 Munich Olympics. “I beat one of my closest friends, Fernando Meligeni of Brazil to win the bronze medal at Atlanta (Olympics),” he recalled. “Brazilians are very nice people and I had the honour of playing a match in front of Pele, but these players here are tough and strong,” Paes said on the tie this weekend.

Paes opined that aspects such as the court surface and weather conditions or, for that matter, both Brazilian singles players, Thomaz Bellucci and Ricard Mello, being left-handers were not important at all.

“On the tour, we play on different surfaces and players, day in and day out. I don’t think it really matters, because at the end of the day, you got to beat them to win the tie.”

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