Necessity is the mother of invention, and that's exactly what's resulted in the pairing up again of a duo that redefined Indian tennis. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi are likely to come together for the Chennai Open and they are certainly pairing up for the Australian Open to open their 2011 season.
“We never won the Australian (Open) together. I feel it's a missing piece in our story. This just seemed to be the right time to attempt to plug that gap,” said Paes.
As of now, both are minus concrete partners for next year. That means they have to do the best they can, given the available resources. “With Hesh there is really no homework to do. We have our moves worked out and it all comes together almost at an instinctive level,” says Paes.
The crucial question, however, is going to be about which one of them runs down that floater away ball or that tantalising lob; both, after all, demand juice in the legs that the veterans may not have enough reserves of.
At 37 and 36, Paes and Bhupathi are on their last legs on the tennis tour. While Paes still has those incredible reflexes, Bhupathi has always relied on solid groundstrokes and a big serve to claim his place in the upper echelons on the Tour.
Those two huge components of his game, however, demand a physical regimen, which has not kept up with his aspirations.
Before Indian tennis fans get too excited about the resurgence of the 'Indian Express' it's important to understand that this partnership is unlikely to go beyond the momentary convenience.
Paes and Bhupathi have teamed up with different partners at the ATP World Tour Finals in London starting on Sunday. Paes is partnering Lucas Dlouhy while Bhupathi with Max Mirnyi.
Also, given their mediocre performance in the Commonwealth Games here, their winning that missing Slam is certainly going to be a big ask.