Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are under achievers given their talent
In India most sports persons representing in fields other than cricket have a common complaint. The complaint is that other sports are not encouraged in our country or promoted in the same way as cricket. Lack of infrastructure is another problem cited. While to some extent the concerns of these sportsmen are genuine, there are reasons other than this for lack of success at international level. A look at the career records of tennis legends Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi is an indication that Indian sportsperson are known for wasting their talents and opportunities when at their peak.
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi carried on from where their illustrious predecessors like Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan left the international scene. While there predecessors got laurels for their team, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bupathi went a step ahead by getting individual glory for themselves as well. Prior to the advent of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes on international scene men's doubles was not that popular. Thanks to the exploits of Bhupathi and Paes mens doubles gained popularity on the international scene. In 1999 when Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes made the finals of all four Grand Slams they became the first ever pair in the history of the game to achieve this feat. Making finals on four different surfaces is no mean achievement as this feat has never ever been achieved by many of their illustrious predecessors in mens doubles. The Indian pair went on to be ranked No.1 in the World with Bhupathi and Paes being ranked number one in individual rankings. Many legends of the game were quick to spot the genius for they shared a wonderful chemistry and were hugely successful on the itnernational circuit. The pair went on to be nicknamed as the "Indian Express"
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have a combined tally of 10 Grand Slam Doubles titles to their credit of which 3 have come when they played as a pair. A combined tally of 10 titles in men's doubles looks a great achievement, they have achieved a mere 7 titles between them playing with different partners for almost a decade and considering the fact that there are four grand slams at stake in mens doubles in a year the actual tally is meagre. Inspite of repeated failures with other partners they continue to persist with their partners, or search for new ones when a minimum intelligence says that whatever their individual differences are, their success percentage conveys that they are going to more often than lose if they play as a pair. Apart from sporting logic, common logic also says that a known devil is better than a unknown angel and that logic is enough to reconsider a alliance.
Unfortunately Sania Mirza is also going the same way not having learnt from the mistakes of Paes and Bhupathi. Sania Mirza made two successive Australian Open Finals with Mahesh Bhupathi winning one of them. Inspite of her success she has decided to part ways with Bhupathi who has a reputation of winning mixed doubles with any parter in the world. There are many like Hingis who prefer partnering Bhupathi to acheive success but Sania continues to partner others inspite of repeated failures.
Collectively Bhupathi, Paes and Sania have won 22 Grand Slams, but their tallies would have been far higher if they stick to a all Indian combination of Bhupathi-Paes and Bhupathi-Sania. The combination would suit their own interests as well as the interests of millions of Indians.
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