Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna advanced to the second round of the men’s doubles, defeating Uruguay’s Marcel Felder and Tunisia’sMalek Jaziri 6-0, 7-6(1), 6-2 in an hour and 36 minutes.
The Indians couldn’t have begun better: the first set featured 17 minutes of solid serves, angled returns, from Bopanna in the deuce court and Bhupathi in the ad court, and sharp volley exchanges. Especially impressive was the co-ordination in movement.
Felder and Jaziri, who didn’t know what hit them, were able to push the seventh seeds to a breaker in the second set, even endangering Bopanna’s serve in the fifth game.
But Bhupathi and Bopanna recovered to get the job done. “We really worked hard these past six months to get where we are, very pleased, and we’re hoping to continue our good form here and doing well this week,” said Bopanna.
Understandably there were questions about the incidents surroundingthe selection of India’s representatives to the Olympics.
“You know things couldn’t have got uglier for us in Indian tennis the last week,” said Bhupathi. “Everyone seems to think that I’m the one manipulating and pulling the strings for all these extremely individual and successful tennis players like Rohan and Sania. It’s not true.”
Bhupathi said he understood Sania Mirza’s criticism of the system,including him. “I obviously sympathise with Sania,” he said, before addressing Mirza’s comment about Bhupathi sacrificing his commitment to her. “As far as I am concerned, I am committed to her. We’re playing here, and if we get a chance to, we’ll play the Olympics.”