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Bhupathi hints at patch-up with AITA

Chennai: Mahesh Bhupathi, on Monday, indicated that all his issues with the All India Tennis Association (AITA) have been sorted and he may represent the country in the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Korea.

Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna were banned by the AITA following their refusal to team up with Leander Paes for the London Games. The Karnataka High Court stayed the ban after the duo had appealed against it.

“The court case has been stayed for months. The AITA has sent me an email asking whether I am available for selection (in Davis Cup). I have said that I am. Obviously, it is good that they have asked,” Bhupathi said ahead of the Chennai Open.

Specifically asked if he is ready to team up with any player, an apparent reference to Paes, Bhupathi said, “I have made myself available. That is the bottom line. There is no point in speculating as to who is going to play with me. They asked me whether I am going to play, I said yes.”

Talking about Chennai Open, the season-opener, Bhupathi said there are several contenders for the title. “Daniel (Nestor, his doubles partner) and I will be playing and I’m planning to play with him the whole season. Besides us, Leander and Edouardo (Roger-Vasselin) are a strong combination. Rohan and Rajeev Ram are dangerous too. Obviously, we are all playing with new partners and it’s going to be interesting,” he said.

Bhupathi said he has worked on some aspects of his game to adjust to Nestor’s style. “I was working on my forehands for switching sides because Daniel is a strong advantage court player. I have had to make a few changes,” he said.

Many big names, including Rafael Nadal, have played the Chennai Open and Bhupathi said that the tournament has grown from strength to strength.

“Over the years, this tournament has attracted various high-profile players. Quite an amazing lot of talented players have played here —from Rafa to Boris (Becker) to (Yevgeny) Kafelnikov. Even this year, Tomas Berdych, who is ranked No. 6 in the world, will play here. Their participation depends on how they want to plan their schedule for a new season. It is not very easy but I am glad such talent comes to India.”

Bhupathi hoped that more Indian players will make the singles main draw here in future.

“Obviously, at some point, we would like Indian boys to come through qualifying to main draw. Rohan did that a few years ago and Yuki had done it too. There are a lot of opportunities for Indians as the tour is not as tough. Hopefully, we will see many Indians coming through qualifying into main draw,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bopanna, who was part of the biggest controversy to rock Indian tennis last year, still considers the past 12 months as “one of the best” of his career. (PTI)