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January reunion likely, says Leander

Calcutta: Mahesh Bhupathi said on Thursday he wants to team up with Leander Paes for the forthcoming ATP Chennai Open. And Leander seemed to echo his former partner during his visit to the CC&FC for an invitational double wicket tournament on Friday.

“I haven’t yet decided whether Chennai or Doha will be my comeback tournament. If I play in Chennai, it will be with Mahesh,” the doubles specialist said.

According to the ATP calendar, the Chennai and the Doha meets take place simultaneously.

Leander stressed on the need of playing some tournaments with Bhupathi before the Athens Olympics.

“The Olympics are in the fall on 2004. We would also like to play some matches together during the hardcourt season in USA,” he added.

Leander felt it won’t take too much time for him to gel with Bhupathi on court. “We know each other’s game too well, so it won’t be a problem.”

Talking about his fitness, the former French and Wimbledon doubles champion said: “I’m working out hard and should get back to full fitness by January.”

He also hinted he will be playing singles in some tournaments as well.

Sania’s target

Junior Wimbledon doubles champion Sania Mirza, who was also in the city on Friday on personal visit, said her primary aim is to break the 250-mark in the senior circuit by the end of 2004.

“Currently, I’m in the 420s. The 250-mark is a realistic target and I’m working on it,” she said after a stint with the trainees at the BTA complex.

Sania also informed she has stopped playing in the junior circuit and looking forward to winning a few Challengers that will give her ranking a much-needed boost.

She, however, felt the ITF rule of not allowing an under-17 player to take part in more than 13 tournaments a year will frustrate her plans. “To get more points, I need to play more tournaments,” she said.

Sania also talked about a practice session with Martina Navratilova during the US Open last year. “It was a warm-up session for the legend and she praised my ground-strokes after the half-an-hour session”, she added.

Sania informed she will be working on her claycourt game during her forthcoming session with Bob Brett in December.

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