Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In the spirit of the Games

That quest for Olympic Gold sure is powerful!

It's enough to bring moms out of retirement, a la Lindsay Davenport, and to me, this shocker of shockers: Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes (pictured) are teaming up for some tournaments this summer before the Olympics, which I thought would basically be the equivalent of hell freezing over, pigs flying, whatever metaphor you would want to use. They pretty much could have been a new metaphor for something unlikely happening! ("You want me to do what? When Paes and Bhupathi get back together!")

If you go to the ATP's home page, you'll see the pair in the video section talking about their chances at the Games. The image of them with big grins on their faces is surprising because these two have really called each other out in the past few years. But they're confident of their chances in Beijing and realize they don't have to be buddy-buddies to do well.

I really like following doubles and I've thought it a shame these two couldn't stick together because they were on their way to being one of the best teams ever. They've won tons of titles together, Slams and Masters shields a-plenty, and even in their first tournament back together last month they made the finals. They got knocked out in their first match in Indianopolis today by another Olympic pairing, Canadians Daniel Nestor and Frederic Niemeyer, but just barely.

Here's hoping the Indian Express gets back on track and can pick up a medal in Beijing. (As long as they don't knock off the Bryans, I'm good!)

(Photos: Getty Images)


freakyfrites said...

Hey Van,

Why did these two guys fall out in the first place?

The ATP should really find a way to market the great "teams" of doubles - the Knowles/Nestors and the Bryan Bros, while also encouraging players to form these kind of tight alliances (easier said than done, I know). I think fans really get into that kind of thing - I remember the crowd at Indian Wells loving that Eric Butorac and Jamie Murray wore "Stretch" and "Booty" t-shirts when they played. Too bad they split up.

I'm a huge fan of team France: Clement and Llodra! They have the talent and personality to eclipse even the Bryans, and I'm looking forward to watching them during the Olympics.

I know it's a pipe dream, but wouldn't it be cool if the ATP had some high profile doubles-only tournaments, with top players forming teams and doing WWF-style trash talking smack downs before their matches? Roger and Rafa would be a team, of course - ditch Yves Allegro for once, Rog!

van said...

Hey Freakyfrites, I've read stuff ranging from their camps speaking out against each other to business dealings getting in the way to Davis Cup problems.

The ATP seems to be promoting the doubles a little bit more, but you're right: So much more can be done. And it's funny you mention Booty and Stretch: One of my first postings on this blog was about them! I was really excited for those guys to make it and promote the game, but it just didn't happen, moreso due to Murray.

That sounds like a fun idea about the doubles, and I agree with you about Roger and Yves. Geez, Rog! Leave that guy alone!

hcfoo said...

Awww... that's sweet isn't it to see them putting their feud aside for the sake of Olympics.

Way to go, India!

GoMaria said...

Can you give us the low down on their fall out? Their partnership looked so ancient now......what happened in between? Why did they break up? Who stole whose wife? slept with whose girl friend behind his back? juicy details please....

Or was it merely an ego thing? both wanted to be Indian #1 and both wouldn't acknowledge the other one is better?

van said...

Hey hcfoo, it is shocking considering how much time they've spent arguing!

Hey gomaria! I was going to try and post some links but there's too many, and that's just within the past few months! If you do a search on "Leander Paes Mahesh Bhupathi feud" a ton of stories come up.

I think early on it was probably ego, but lately now it seems like petty stuff.