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Mixed doubles crown a balm for Mahesh Bhupathi

Bhupathi said the mixed doubles title came as a relief to him after the defeat in men's doubles final on Saturday night.

Written by Agencies | Melbourne | Published: February 1, 2009 4:56 pm

Tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi said Sunday’s mixed doubles title in the Australian Open came as a relief to him after the heart-breaking defeat in men’s doubles final on Saturday night.

Bhupathi said he was worried about the possibility of going home empty-handed but the mixed doubles title he won partnering Sania Mirza helped him avoid a double whammy.

“We lost a tough one last night. Obviously we were a bit down. But (we) tried to stay as positive as possible in the final today. Getting through was big,” said Bhupathi after winning his seventh mixed doubles title,second at Melbourne Park after the 2006 triumph partnering Swiss Martina Hingis.

“Both my coach,trainer and obviously Sania,they were trying to keep me as positive as possible. But going home without a title after making two finals just crossed my mind a few too many times today in the match. But it didn’t happen. Happy about that,” added Bhupathi after he and Sania became the first Indian mixed doubles pair to lift a Grand Slam title following their 6-3 6-1 win against the French-Israeli combine of Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram.

Their win rounded off a brilliant Indian campaign at the season’s first Grand Slam after Yuki Bhambri became the first Indian to clinch the boys’ singles title in Melbourne.

The 34-year-old Bhupathi said he wants to continue playing with Sania in the remaining three Grand Slams as well.

“Well,you know,for us,it’s always four slams where we have the opportunity to play mixed. Ideally I’d like to continue playing with her,now that we’re doing so well,” he said.

Bhupathi said he might even consider organising a mixed doubles tournament in India once the global economic recession gets over.

“We might consider an exhibition. I don’t know,you know,maybe once the economy turns around across the world,we’ll look at it. Obviously I think millions and millions of people watched this match today. Any time Sania plays at home,there’s a lot of people watching,” he said.

Looking back at the men’s doubles final in which he and Mark Knowles squandered a set’s lead to go down 6-2 5-7 0-6 against American brothers Mike and Bob Bryan,Bhupathi rued missing the chances that his team got.

“We dominated the first two sets. We had our chances. We didn’t take them. When you don’t against the Bryans,that’s tough,” he said.

Asked whether he was expecting a grand reception on his return to India,Bhupathi said he prefers to keep it low profile and would rather like Sania to hog the limelight.

“Well,hopefully (the reception is) not too big. I’m not a big fan of receptions. I’d like to sneak out the back door at the airport tomorrow,” he said.

“I know for a fact the whole country’s excited now. It’s her (Sania’s) first slam. She’s been in the news for the last four years. I think a lot of good players in the past have won a slam in either doubles or mixed and then gone on to do better things,like Lleyton Hewitt.

“Even Venus and Serena,they won their first slams in mixed. They were confident to move up in singles,” he added.

Bhupathi said he might even consider organising a mixed doubles tournament in India once the global economic recession gets over.

“We might consider an exhibition. I don’t know,you know,maybe once the economy turns around across the world,we’ll look at it. Obviously I think millions and millions of people watched this match today. Any time Sania plays at home,there’s a lot of people watching,” he said.

Looking back at the men’s doubles final in which he and Mark Knowles squandered a set’s lead to go down 6-2 5-7 0-6 against American brothers Mike and Bob Bryan,Bhupathi rued missing the chances that his team got.

“We dominated the first two sets. We had our chances. We didn’t take them. When you don’t against the Bryans,that’s tough,” he said.

Asked whether he was expecting a grand reception on his return to India,Bhupathi said he prefers to keep it low profile and would rather like Sania to hog the limelight.

“Well,hopefully (the reception is) not too big. I’m not a big fan of receptions. I’d like to sneak out the back door at the airport tomorrow,” he said.

“I know for a fact the whole country’s excited now. It’s her (Sania’s) first slam. She’s been in the news for the last four years. I think a lot of good players in the past have won a slam in either doubles or mixed and then gone on to do better things,like Lleyton Hewitt.

“Even Venus and Serena,they won their first slams in mixed. They were confident to move up in singles,” he added.

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