BHUPATHI‑BOPANNA/Felder‑Jaziri 6‑0, 7‑6, 6‑2





Q.  Given all that was going on in the last five, ten days, what was it like coming out playing and getting on with the tournament?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  It was refreshing.  I mean, you know, the effort the last four or five days to try and put that episode behind and just try and focus on preparing for Wimbledon, we’re glad to get that first win under the belt.

Q.  How pleased are you or how do you feel about the entire process that you went through, the Olympic process?

ROHAN BOPANNA:  I mean, obviously now we’re very pleased that it’s done with and very excited that, you know, we’re going there to represent India as a team.

We really worked hard these past six months to get where we are, very pleased, and we’re hoping, you know, to continue keeping our good form here and doing well this week.


Q.  What do you feel can be tweaked to make the process, in your view, better for selection?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  It’s not our job to advise these people.  What’s done is done.  It was unfortunate and it was ugly, but, you know, I think from our point of view, we just want to focus on Wimbledon now.  We’re not just dwelling on the past.


Q.  How does it feel to be playing here at Wimbledon for you guys?

ROHAN BOPANNA:  I think for me I have always watched, while growing up, watching a lot of like Becker, Edberg playing at Wimbledon so much.  It’s always a great feeling coming here and playing.  Grass being my favorite surface, it’s really exciting.  Gets me motivated to do very well here at this tournament.


Q.  How about you?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  It’s amazing.  It never gets old.  As many times as I have been here, it’s always special to play that first match especially.  Now that we have got some rhythm under our belt, hopefully we can keep playing well.


Q.  With the whole situation that’s gone on, where do you think it’s left Indian tennis?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  As of yesterday, great place.  We’re sending seven people to the Olympics.


Q.  In a lot of countries, tennis is run sort of in a crazy way by amateurs, this region and that region.  Could you talk about the process of Indian tennis and what’s it like?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  I’m not sure what the process is.  Honestly, I’m not involved in the process.  You know, all we know is we hear the decision from our end, and, you know, unfortunately the decision was something that, you know, had no logic.

So, you know, we had to kind of take a very hard stance.  As I said, we’re just happy we’re playing well at Wimbledon and headed to the Olympics.


Q.  You know, you guys have been working hard.  I understand that in doubles it’s chemistry.  Leander also has a high ranking.  He said, I’ll play with anybody.  Don’t you guys feel also ‑‑ I know you had a point, but do you also feel that he had a point, or you didn’t see his side?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  No, everyone has their opinion.  You know, everyone probably stands by it.  But from our point of view, we worked hard.  He, definitely being the No. 1 player in India, deserves to go, you know, but he needs to deserve to go with someone who wants to play with him.


Q.  Regarding playing for a country, seems like there is a lot of individual needs there too.  Would you have done for the country, like isn’t that important, the country in the Olympics?

ROHAN BOPANNA:  Exactly.  Country is a major part.  But last year that’s the reason I broke up my partnership with Qureshi, which I was doing so well at the end of the year.  We finished top 8 in the year, and I especially broke up with him, you know, to team up with Mahesh for Olympics.

So I put country very much ahead of my personal choices, and, you know, I think that should be considered, the fact that a country was definitely ahead of a personal choice.


Q.  Maybe Leander should have done the same?  That’s what crossed my mind actually when I saw this because you have been working hard.  Do you feel maybe he could have done the same?

ROHAN BOPANNA:  You need to ask him.  It’s what we thought we were supposed to do right and we did that.


Q.  Congratulations on the great win in Paris.  Well done.  A difficult question, but Leander has such a great record.  Why do you think there is a problem with some people to team up with him?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  Well, it’s extremely long answer, but it is an underlying problem which I think a lot of people have to dwell into and get into it to figure out.

But, you know, it is what it is.  I mean, everyone kind of seems to think that I’m the one manipulating and pulling the strings for all these extremely individual and successful tennis players like Rohan and Sonia.  It’s not true.  Some people need to ask hard questions and they get hard answers.

The process has started.  Maybe after the Olympics there is something to be done.  Like I said, we’re just glad this whole thing is behind us.


Q.  Is there any particular pressure on you going into this tournament, given everything that’s happened?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  It’s Wimbledon.  Every Wimbledon is special.  So if you want to win, we’re going to have to deal with pressure no matter, you know, what the situation is.


Q.  What do you think about Mirza and the letter she sent in, which she felt that she was being used as bait to keep Leander Paes in the Olympics?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  You know, things couldn’t have got uglier for us in Indian tennis the last week.  It’s unbelievable situation they have put her in, and, you know, I obviously sympathize with Sania.  I feel for her in her letter.

As far as I’m concerned, I’m committed to her.  We’re playing here, and if we get a chance to, we will play the Olympics.  Obviously in her letter she clearly stated that, you know, we have won two Grand Slam titles as close as two weeks ago.  You know, they have to kind of worry about if they want to win a medal for the country or, as she said, you know, keep one player happy.


Q.  Before the letter she said she would play with whoever.   Once she said that, you know…

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  She said that in the letter, too.


Q.  She said she would have played with anybody too?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  She said that in the letter, too.


Q.  On a lighter side, an American commentator said, Gee, what’s happening?  They should make a move in Bollywood.  If an actor were to play you, who would you like?

ROHAN BOPANNA:  I play.  (Smiling.)

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  I don’t know.  But I’ll sell the rights for a lot of money, though.  (Laughter.)

Q.        How honored are you guys for going and representing, like how do you feel when you heard that you guys could pair together?

ROHAN BOPANNA:  I mean, fantastic feeling.  There’s nothing bigger than representing your country at the Olympics.  For me, it’s going to be the first time.  Obviously grass being my favorite surface, coming back here after Wimbledon to play at the Olympics, I’m really looking forward to it, and I think it’s going to be a really good event.


Q.  How about for you, Mahesh?  You have this experience and have so many Grand Slams.  Still very special?

MAHESH BHUPATHI:  Yeah, the Olympics is unexplainable to someone who is not an athlete, how special it is.  Just being at the Village, and I’m really happy for Rohan.  It’s his first.  For a tennis player to play first Olympics at Wimbledon, it will be a great experience for us.