Trust and respect for each other is gone: Bhupathi
East Bengal back to winning ways
Broken post delays final
South Point set up final date with St James’

 
 
TRUST AND RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER IS GONE: BHUPATHI 
 
 
BY AMITAVA DAS GUPTA
 
Calcutta, May 10 
It’s official. Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes are breaking up with virtually no hopes of a reconciliation even in the distant future.

“The trust and respect you need to have for each other are gone, so we’re going different ways,” Bhupathi told The Telegraph from his hotel in Rome where he’s playing the Italian Open with Mark Knowles.

Two of India’s biggest achievers in the world of sport during the last decade, Paes and Bhupathi did have a few one-on-one sessions in Orlando last week trying to iron out the differences. But, as both realised, they had reached a dead-end.

“Leander told me I should choose between him and Rico (Enrico Piperno) if our partnership was to continue. Well, I couldn’t agree to that. I told him I needed both and suggested we play together in the French Open and Wimbledon, and then see how it goes. But he was adamant. So there we go,” Bhupathi said.

It’s no secret that Paes feels Bhupathi’s coach is largely to blame for the rift between the erstwhile friends and partners. The Bangalorean, though, refuses to subscribe to that theory.

“He (Leander) is trying to use Rico as an excuse, but I know that’s not the only reason,” Bhupathi observed.

What actually caused this shocking ‘divorce’ then? “Well, there are a bunch of different reasons dating back to over a year. It wouldn’t be proper of me to talk about those things.”

Defending his decision to choose Piperno ahead of Paes, Bhupathi said his coach had stood by him in his difficult days. “I had this shoulder surgery which took me five months to recover. I needed someone close to travel with me at least for the first few months of my comeback,” Bhupathi said, adding that Piperno had offered to pack his bags and return home from Orlando to save the partnership.

Bhupathi himself had told The Telegraph last year that he would share coach Bob Carmichael with Paes, which could have brought peace. Why did he back out of that ‘agreement’?

“I wanted Bob to work on my singles ranking, but that was before my shoulder surgery in end-November,” Bhupathi remarked. “Thereafter I informed him that since I would have to start from scratch in singles once I returned to the Tour, there was no use hiring him at the moment. I don’t need Bob for my doubles as I had already been world No. 1. There’s no misunderstanding on this score as far as I am concerned.”

Now that their break-up has been formalised, both stand to lose hefty sums vis-a-vis endorsements. What can be more harmful are the charges and counter-charges that are bound to surface. One just hopes the friends-turned-foes are not left to rue their failure to patch up and get back on court.

Bhupathi said he still hasn’t “totally” come to terms with the fact that he and Paes won’t be gunning for a third Grand Slam title, but feels he couldn’t have done any more to avoid this sad ending.

“I made an honest effort to keep in touch with Leander and e-mailed him a number of times in the last five months. Unfortunately, there was no reciprocation. If that’s the way he wants it, so be it. I have to move on too...”

Like Paes, though, Bhupathi is convinced that the two can play together in the Davis Cup and Olympics. “Playing for the country is different. I don’t foresee any problems there,” Bhupathi asserted.

The average tennis fan will no longer be so sure. Just as Hansie Cronje has exploded many a myth in cricket, Paes and Bhupathi have broken several hearts. Like cricket, tennis will never be the same again in this passionate sports-loving country.    


 
 
EAST BENGAL BACK TO WINNING WAYS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 10 
East Bengal returned to winning ways when they beat Calcutta Port Trust (CPT) 2-1 in their BHA senior division league match today.

After three draws and a defeat in their previous four games, East Bengal took the lead early today. In the very first minute, Pramod Kumar deflected a pass from Sunil Singh past the CPT goalkeeper. The CPT players, however, claimed that it wasn’t a goal as the last touch was by one of their own men.

CPT equalised in the 15th minute when Manoj Kumar struck the boards after a Raja Rabi Das attempt resulted in a goalmouth melee.

The winner came in the 20th minute of the second half when Gregory Minz scored from a penalty corner, the third of five earned by East Bengal.

While CPT matched their better-known counterparts move for move in the first half, East Bengal took control of the match in thesecond.

Samarjit Singh, who was in outstanding form during the recent East Zone championship, was taken off in the second half, minutes after he had squandered two chances. If those had been taken, East Bengal’s victory margin would have been convincing.

SAI down BNR

In other matches, SAI Training Centre defeated BNR 3-1. Manoj Kujur opened the scoring for SAI in the 10th minute. Poulus Soy increased the lead in the 27th minute. After BNR had managed their only strike in the second half through P. Lugan, Atal Tirkey increased the margin in the 64th minute.

ERSA beat CC&FC 1-0 in a closely-fought match with P. Ekka scoring the only goal.

FCI got the better of Calcutta Customs 2-1. Nicodine Nag and Ranjan Lakra struck for the winning side and Sudhir Shaw provided the only one for Customs.

In a group B match, Calcutta Rangers walloped Real Sports Friends 5-0. Joseph Lindsay, Shaun d’Rosario scored two goals each and Cyril Lindsay the fifth.    


 
 
BROKEN POST DELAYS FINAL 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 10 
The Kaivan Cup final fell through today because of a smashed goalpost.

When the two teams — BSF, North Bengal and Sporting Union — and the umpires turned up at the Police ground they discovered that the goalpost at the northern end was broken.

A Bengal Hockey Association (BHA) official said it was probably a result of football practice in the morning — something that is not allowed on grounds allotted to the BHA.

The match will now come off next week, but it was surprising that the BHA did not send someone to check whether all facilities were in order at the venue.    


 
 
SOUTH POINT SET UP FINAL DATE WITH ST JAMES’ 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, May 10 
South Point High School stormed into the final of the Parle-G CAB under-19 schools cricket tournament with a 74-run win over Ballygunge Government High School today.

They meet St James’ School in the title-clash on Friday.

Powered by Man of gthe Match Subhojit Paul and Dipanjan Bose, South Point managed 222. Masidur Rahman finished with four wickets and Kunalo Biswas had three.

Ballygunge managed just 148 for nine in the allotted 40 overs. Sourajit Sarkar claimed three wickets.

Ambar Roy meet

Bulan Cricket Academy and Ballygunge Sporting ended up with a tie in a second-phase group-league match of the Ambar Roy sub-junior cricket tournament at the Eden Gardens today.

Pioneer Co-operative rode an unbeaten 144 from Sourav Dutta to romp to a huge 132-run win over Milan Samity.

School of Cricket Coaching & Physical Culture (BNR), Sonarpur Sporting Union Sports Academy, Union AC of Chinsurah and Barasat’s Subhas Institute were the other winners of the day.    

 

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