The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paes, Mahesh ready to fire
- french open l Indians confident of good show

New Delhi, May 24 (PTI): Estranged teammates Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi today sounded equally optimistic of their chances in the doubles event of the French Open, even though they start with different partners on the red clay of Roland Garros.

They have twice conquered Roland Garros in the company of each other. However, now their confidence is oozing from the successful run they have had so far on the ATP Circuit this year with their respective partners.

While Paes has signed up a one-year contract with David Rikl of Czech Republic, Bhupathi has teamed up with Max Mirnyi of Belarus.

“I am feeling very confident heading into the French Open. Rikl and I have found our rhythm and the results we have had together this season has really inspired a lot of confidence in both of us,” said Paes, who will leave for Paris early tomorrow morning.

Bhupathi was equally hopeful of a good run with Mirnyi. “Our chances at the French Open are as good as any team,” said Bhupathi. “We will be seeded two, and with the way we are playing, once we get past the first few rounds we will be a tough team to beat,” an optimistic Bhupathi remarked.

Navarra for Bhupathi

A Staff Reporter in Calcutta adds: It’s been six weeks since Mahesh Bhupathi started working with his new travelling coach Mose Navarra. And in that period, Bhupathi and Max Mirnyi won two titles (Estoril and Monte Carlo), made a final (Hamburg) and a semi-final (Rome).

“I’m delighted with the way this new partnership (with Navarra) is working out… the results are proving that,” Bhupathi said from Bangalore shortly before leaving for Paris. “Mose is a good friend and a more hands-on coach as he’s played on the Tour for long.”

Bhupathi’s six-year stint with Enrico Piperno ended in April because the latter wasn’t inclined to travelling 30 weeks a year. “It was time for a change after six long years… Rico wanted more time with his family and then there was his Fed Cup commitment too,” Bhupathi said.

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