Paes-Bhupathi feel tennis scheduling could have been better


New Delhi : Commonwealth Games gold medal favourites Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi said they felt a little let down by the cramped schedule of the tennis competition. Their campaign ended with a bronze medal Saturday.

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Paes and Bhupathi, however, acknowledged the superior performance of their opponents in the men’s doubles semi-final.

The former Indian express eventually got a bronze overcoming compatriots Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna.

“Our opponents played better during our semifinal match. The schedule did not give us enough time. My first match had a delayed start because the match before stretched long and then I played till the final set tie-breaker before coming for my mixed doubles match within one hour and 40 minutes. So I was exhausted and that reflected in my match,” said Paes, who along with Sania Mirza lost in the mixed doubles quarterfinals.

“Also, we were playing on fast courts with heavy balls for our men’s doubles match and I was back in less than two hours to play a mixed doubles match on slower courts with lighter balls used for women matches.

“But we have been doing this all over the circuit even at the Australian Open. It’s technical nuances.”

Bhupathi concurred. “It (scheduling) was definitely a bit messed up. But that happens everywhere.”

It was tough for Paes and Bhupathi to fight out for the bronze medal against Somdev and Bopanna and they admitted it was “no fun” playing the younger members of the squad Saturday night.

“It is definitely no fun playing these boys for a medal. We have been staying together for so many days and enjoying hanging out with each other, so it is definitely not an ideal situation. But at the end we are all professionals and have been in these situations before,” Bhupathi said.

“We were disappointed to lose in the semifinals yesterday. We wanted to win a gold. It is hard to bounce back to play for a bronze. We definitely did not want to leave without winning a medal.”

Paes wished the two Indian pairs had sparred for a gold medal. “It was a high quality match. I wish we had played these two boys for a gold medal, it would have ensured at least two medals for India.”

For Paes, who has been coming to the R.K. Khanna Tennis stadium as a nine-year-old, the refurbished venue came as a complete delight and he feels it is ready to hold Tour level events.

“The stadium looks fantastic. I have been coming to this place since I was nine. The main court is as good as the one in Chennai and it has a second stadium court which makes it even more interesting. They can definitely hold tour level tournaments here,” Paes said.

Tennis made its debut in this edition of Commonwealth Games and Paes felt that it should be considered as discipline in the future events.

“Most definitely the tennis should be there in Commonwealth Games. We saw the crowd turning in India in great numbers, it has generated a great revenue for the organisers,” Paes said.