Not willing to take it lying down, Leander Paes on Thursday hit back at Mahesh Bhupathi, saying it was "silly" and "childish" on his part to put personal preferences ahead of national interest which jeopardises India's medal chances in the Beijing Olympic Games.
Paes admitted he doesn't see his estranged 'Indian Express' partner eye-to-eye on virtually every issue but insisted Bhupathi should put aside the difference keeping in mind the country's interest.
"I find it really silly. It is childish on his part because we are hurting ourselves in the process. At the end of the day, both of us are losers," Paes said, reacting to Bhupathi's e-mail to the All India Tennis Association in which he said he would prefer to team up with Rohan Bopanna, instead of Paes, in Beijing.
"It's unreasonable and ridiculous to claim that any other pair would do better than me and Mahesh," Paes told reporters in Capital on Thursday.
Bhupathi had said that there was no communication between him and Paes and with the pair not playing together on the ATP Tour, they are bound to reach Beijing under-prepared. In such a scenario, Bhupathi said he would prefer teaming up with Bopanna.
Paes held Bhupathi responsible for lack of any communication between them.
"I've always tried to communicate but it has always been a one-way communication. He has not communicated with me even once. He has communicated only through letters and e-mails to the AITA," he said.