India's hopes at the Australian Open beginning today rest on the the brand new doubles pair, Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, and Leander Paes, who will be teaming up with Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek.
Paes, having won the doubles title at the Chennai Open with Serb Janko Tipsarevic, will go into the Open with high confidence.
Bhupathi will be looking to win his maiden men's doubles title with his new partner, having missed out thrice as losing finalist -- with Paes in 1999 and 2011 and with Mark Knowles of Bahamasin 2009.
"It is my 18th season so it is not something new. Beginning of every season is always exciting because in two weeks you are in a Grand Slam.
I hope to kick it off well," said Bhupathi, who won the Australian Open mixed doubles title with Martina Hingis in 2006 and in 2008 with Sania Mirza.
Sania will be the lone Indian representative in the single's competition after Somdev Devvarman pulled out with a shoulder injury.