Leander Paes underplays Hesh controversy

Contrary to reports, Paes says he and partner Bhupathi are together

India tennis ace Leander Paes was shocked by reports that he and partner Mahesh Bhupathi are heading for splitsville... yet again! Paes and Bhupathi have had a tumultuous past that has seen them attain the World No 1 doubles ranking and thereafter splitting on a bitter note. They reunited earlier this year after nearly a decade.

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi during their AEGON Championships
semi-final at Queens Club in London recently. Pic/Getty Images

However, it was reported yesterday that they could be separating from each other not only on the ATP Tour but also for Davis Cup and the all-important London Olympics next year. "As things currently stand, Mahesh and me have not yet decided to part ways as such. We have the all-important ATP World Tour Finals that begin on Sunday and after that tournament we will sit down together to have a discussion to decide about our respective futures," Paes told MiD DAY on the eve of his departure for London for the year-ending tournament.

The former Davis Cup skipper explained that the pairing was never meant to be a long- term one anyway.
"When Mahesh and me got together (after nine years) we had clearly announced that we would take the partnership ahead one month at a time and see how things pan out. It was never a long-term thing. But having said that, we have not yet decided to part ways as such," added the 38-year-old.

The five-time Olympian was further incensed with reported suggestions that Bhupathi and he would not even play together at the Davis Cup and worse still, the London Olympics. "Country always comes first and we will definitely be together for the Davis Cup. And I think everyone knows about my dream of playing my sixth Olympics. Besides, the London Games is a good nine months away, so it's way to early to speculate," he signed off.

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