Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bhupathi not sure about playing Chennai Open

Doubles specialist Mahesh Bhupathi may not be playing at India's premier tennis event, the ATP Chennai Open, which kicks off on December 31.

Bhupathi, still recovering from back surgery, said he is determined to make it to the Australian Open in January with new partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas. But the decision to play in Chennai would be taken at the last minute.

"I have been hitting with Rohan (Bopanna) and others... and will be pushing myself over the next few days," the 33-year-old told The Telegraph from Bangalore on Monday.

Bhupathi, currently ranked 21st in the world, has won the Chennai Open four times - all with estranged partner Leander Paes.

The US $436,000 hardcourt tournament in Chennai has been an annual feature since 1997 and only the four doubles titles in 1997, 98, 99 and 2002 have been won by Indians.

A wrist injury had kept Bhupathi from playing the 2007 edition of the tournament while Paes skipped the event to play in Doha.

In case both Paes and Bhupathi opt out in 2008, India's title hopes at Chennai would have rested in the hands of Rohan Bopanna -- currently ranked a career-best 66 in doubles. But the 27-year-old has already committed to partnerng Sania Mirza for the Hopman Cup team event - which clashes with the Chennai Open. Bopanna and Prakash Amritraj were the losing finalists at Chennai in 2006.

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With Somdev Devvarman (January 13, 2009 and October 4, 2007)

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