The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bopanna needs to finish off matches: Paes

Calcutta: It’s his killer instinct that made Leander Paes what he is today. Rohan Bopanna is considered to be one of the candidates who could slip into Leander’s shoes but the champion feels the Coorg boy is lacking in that crucial aspect.

“He (Bopanna) is a good player, but he has been unable to finish matches off when it matters most,” Leander said while interacting with the Media at the Bengal Tennis Association complex on Thursday.

“He was in a very good position against Martin Verkerk in India’s Davis Cup tie against The Netherlands last month and should have finished the match off,” Leander said.

Bopanna lost in five sets against the French Open finalist after being two sets and a match-point up in the third.

Leander, however, has no doubt about the talent of the lanky serve-and-volleyer from Coorg. “In fact, it will be a healthy competition between me, Rohan and Prakash Amritraj for the two singles berths when we play our next tie (in New Zealand) in February,” he added.

Leander expressed “shock” over allegations of match-fixing in the ATP circuit. “I was shocked to hear about the ATP launching an inquiry into allegations of match-fixing,” he said, hastening to add that “nobody ever approached me with such an offer”. “May be it’s because of my image”, he added. Leander also ruled out existence of such maladies in the Indian circuit.

The champion promised to do his best to try and have one Davis Cup tie slotted in the city next year. “We’ll play three matches next year and I’ll try to ensure that the city gets one of them.”

Leander, however, didn’t promise an exhibition match in the city involving Martina Navratilova. But the BTA authorities informed they are “sure” the city will get a game, provided Martina comes to India. “We’re in dialogue with Leander on this issue,” a BTA official said.

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