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Leander looking for a new doubles partner

New Delhi: Leander Paes is looking for a new doubles partner in the ATP circuit as Czech Radek Stepanek is yet to recover completely from a spinal surgery.

“Radek underwent a spinal surgery on Monday,” said Leander during the Indian team’s practice session at the R.K. Khanna courts. “Today he is out of the ICU. He should start his rehabilitation next week.

“It would take him a while to get back on track. For the moment, I will have to start looking for a new partner for my bread and butter,” Leander said.

Paes and Stepanek, who were the defending champions of the Australian Open, were stunned 3-6, 5-7 by South African Kevin Anderson and Israeli Jonathan Erlich in the first round.

Paes reminded that Stepanek had the back problem last year itself.

“He had a tough beginning this year. Before this Australian Open, Radek pulled out of the Brisbane meet due to an eye infection. We got to Sydney, won a round and then had to pull out because of injury.

“We knew the extent of it, and that’s what made the Australian Open hard for me,” he said. “I had four other partners (for the Australian Open). But sometimes you have to stand by your partner.”