New Delhi, Sep 19 (IANS) Following his loss in the lone doubles rubber at the Davis Cup World Group Playoff here on Saturday, Indian tennis ace Leander Paes said that he and Mahesh Bhupathi were part of a great team, but that is now a thing of the past.
The response came when Paes was asked at the press conference if India is a waning force when it comes to Davis Cup doubles rubbers. The doubles match is traditionally considered to be India’s forte with greats like Paes and Bhupathi helping their side win several contests in the past decade.
“We have got so spoilt in the fact that Mahesh and I won so many matches — Davis Cup ties and created some crazy record… 24 matches on the trot that we won. I am using the word gently, but we were a bit spoilt with that combination,” Paes said here on Saturday.
“That combination was phenomenal for what it was. We played together for eight years to reach where we are. But now let us put that aside.”
The question arose after Paes and Rohan Bopanna lost the lone doubles rubber in straight sets to give the visiting Czech Republic team a 2-1 lead in the playoff.
The fancied Indian pair went down to veteran Radek Stepanek and Adam Pavlasek 5-7, 2-6, 2-6 in two hours and nine minutes at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association (DLTA) complex.
However, the 42-year-old, who won the US Open mixed doubles title with Swiss star Martina Hingis last week, praised the 20-year-old Pavlasek for his performance in hot and humid conditions.
“Everyone goes through a tough day. It happens to everyone. Tennis is all about rhythm. Today we lost to a young player who was phenomenal. He looked fragile at the start but later got into the play,” said the 1996 men’s singles Olympic bronze medallist.
This was Pavlasek’s second ever Davis Cup match, having won his first one against Australia in March.
“There were three great players and one youngster in the match and he stood out. I tip my hat to him. He played really well,” concluded Paes.