Team ready to evolve, Bopanna's injury a matter of concern: Paes

New Delhi, Apr 9 (UNI) Brushing aside reports of a rift within the Indian team, captain Leander Paes said he will team-up with Mahesh Bhupathi to recreate the old magic with an eye on the Beijing Olympics in the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Japan although the injury to Rohan Bopanna still remains a matter of concern for the team.

Talking to mediapersons here today, Paes said, ''I have always played well with Mahesh and we can never forget the way we played as a team.'' ''In the recent past we have not played much together but we will look to work on this partnership and Olympics is definitely on my agenda,'' he added.

Paes also said his team has put behind the incidents which marred Indian tennis during the last Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan in February.

''Since the last Davis Cup we have handled things well and have put the ups and downs behind us. Playing for the country is the ultimate goal.

''Mahesh and I have played some good tennis since the last Davis Cup and I am happy that I am physically fit too,'' he added.

Paes also agreed that there are some egos iwithin the team but added that such things can help the team evolve in a better way.

''Team that has egos will perform better as well. We all evolve as humans and as long as requirements are consistent we have to evolve,'' he said.

However, Bopanna's injury is still under the scanner. He did not attend the practice sessions today.

''Yesterday I went for MRI scan and needed rest so I coud not turn up for the practice today.'' Bopanna looked fine while practicing yesterday as he played two doubles sets and a couple of single's sets during practice.

On the team composition, Paes did not reveal the possible combinations of doubles and his own chances of playing in singles but was sure that Bhupathi will be seen in action during the doubles.

''Mahesh has been playing very well in doubles. He along with Mark Knowles beat me in the Miami Masters.

''We'll surely put our best team forward. Rohan's injury is obviously a matter of concern for us and even I have not played many singles in the recent past which obviously is a matter of concern for us.

''But if team requires me to play in singles I will do it,'' he claimed.

Paes' former doubles partner Bhupathi too sounded confident about the positive atmosphere in the camp and endorsed his captain's words in every possible way he could.

''We knew it a month ahead of the tie that we will play together.

Leander and I make a good pair but Paes has played well in singles too,'' Bhupathi said while answering to a query.

Meanwhile, Prakash Amritraj, who had refused to play under Paes after the previous Davis Cup tie, seemed ready to bury the hatchet.

''When I landed in Delhi, I had only one goal in mind and that was to play and win for India.

''I have always played well with Leander in the captain's chair and will continue to do so,'' he said.

Amritraj also added that his team will look to utilise the home conditions to good effect against Japan who are relatively inexperienced on grass courts.

''Playing at home will be an advantage to us and grass courts will obviously improve our chances,'' he claimed.

Paes, however, said they can not take Japan lightly and had some words of praise for Nishikori.

''Nishikori is a fine player. He showed his skills at the Delray Beach where he beat James Blake in the finals. He has the potential to be Asia's number one player while Suzuki is a good player too.

''In the last few encounters betwennt the sides, they have given us a run for our money,'' Paes said.


Story first published: Wednesday, April 9, 2008, 20:05 [IST]
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