India Insight

The Indian Express chugs in again

It was a victory long overdue and the reunion was perhaps destined to happen in no other tournament but the Chennai Open.

As India’s star tennis pair — Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes — clinched their fifth Chennai Open doubles crown in 2011, there was more than one reason to celebrate.

File photo of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes celebrating victory after their match against Zimbabwes Black and Ullyett at the Athens 2004 Olympic. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/FilesThe victory came nine long years after their last triumph at Chennai. Their last ATP title win together was at the 2004 Toronto Masters.

Some are already seeing the duo as a potent threat for the upcoming Australian Open.

The last two times Paes and Bhupathi paired up, they faced first-round losses while recovering from their infamous estrangement.

Indian tennis — flash in the pan or pointer to future?

Indian tennis is enjoying a wonderful run with three strong performances underlining the quality of their young players.
 
First it was the refreshingly energetic Somdev Devvarman who raced to the final of the Chennai Open, raising big hopes for India with their stalwarts Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes into their mid 30s.
 
Then 16-year-old Yuki Bhambri belied his lean frame but underlined his top ranking to claim the Australian Open boys’ singles title.

The Delhi boy is aiming to move on to the men’s circuit at the earliest, showing the understanding that the professional tour is where one needs to establish oneself.
 
Sania Mirza then claimed her first senior grand slam title, winning the mixed doubles with Mahesh Bhupathi, which gave him his 11th grand slam title win.
 
For Mirza, the title will be really sweet, coming as she is after a frustrating period due to a wrist injury.
 
The performances by the trio shows the potential Indian tennis has as it looks into the future.
 
But is India capable of building a strong line-up and then a steady stream of players who can back up the main national stars?

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