Hantuchova surprised at Mahesh not playing more singles

Kolkata, Sep 23 (UNI) Doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi may well start thinking afresh about his singles career from today.

This after Bhupathi's mixed doubles partner, Daniela Hantuchova, waxed eloquent on her doubles partner said, ''The first time I practiced with him, I thought why is this guy not playing singles.

He is a great player and amongst all my mixed doubles partner I admire him the most.'' The duo won the 2005 US Open title and has been a regular feature at the Grand Slam circuit. ''Partnering Mahesh has been an incredible experience. I have won four mixed doubles title with four different partners, but I had the most fun playing with him.

''You only team up four times a year for mixed doubles and it is important that you enjoy the game and the time with your partner in the court,'' she added.

Flattered with all the attention from the lovely lady, Bhupathi said, ''Since she won with Leos Friedl in 2002 all the guys wanted to play with her. I had to wait for a long time and eventually we ended up playing together.'' Interestingly, no one knows who asked out first, but to her defense the Slovak said flashing her million dollar smile: ''I don't remember asking anybody to play mixed doubles with me.'' Speaking about his experience playing mixed doubles, Bhupathi said, ''You go with a game plan to attack the girl on the opposite side of the court because she is not used to the pace but sometimes things take a complete different turn.

''At the US Open we were playing against Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka and Mirnyi started playing so badly we had to change our plan and target him. In mixed doubles it takes you a while to adjust to the lack of pace and game is much slower,'' he added.

Taking the secrets out of the closet, Hantuchova said with an air of mischief, ''None of the guys take it easy and they don't hold anything back and comes at you at full throttle. But I thoroughly enjoy it and you always have the added benefit of sharing the court with a male counterpart.'' Bhupathi's better half, Shweta said, who played the role of a over jealous wife to the hilt in the media orchestrated event, ''Mahesh has won six mixed doubles event with six different partners. But that's all he can get. Off the court he is happy with only one,'' and then added with a pause, ''I think.'' ''He wont be playing tennis for very long. But I have travelled with him and seen that side of his life. But I am happy that he is still playing and also juggling so many other things. I don't want my husband to be sitting around in the house,''Mrs Bhupathi added.

At the end of the day all was said in good spirit and only Bhupathi walked away the winner clearly basking in the glory of all the praises that were showered on him by the two pretty women.


Story first published: Monday, September 24, 2007, 13:23 [IST]
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