New Delhi: Leander Paes, who has had a love-hate relationship with Mahesh Bhupathi, denied he had said that he regretted sacrificing his singles career for his estranged doubles partner.

Talking to reporters after India’s Davis Cup matches against Japan on Friday, Paes vehemently denied commenting that agreeing to play with Bhupathi was the worst decision of his career, which he regrets even today.

“I cherish my doubles partnership with Mahesh and at no point of time did I say that I regret playing with him. All I said was that I regret giving up my singles career but it had nothing to do with Mahesh,” Paes said.

Quoted out of context

“I spoke to him about this during the practice and mentioned to him that I had been quoted out of context. This is the only thing I can do to clear the air,” he said.

He went on to say that playing with Bhupathi on Saturday would be a good practice for the Olympics.

Claiming that he was misquoted in an interview that appeared on www.espnstar.com, the tennis ace said he regretted giving up his singles career to pursue doubles glory but he never regretted teaming up with Bhupathi.

“What I regret is slowing down and eventually giving up my singles career. I was ranked 73 at that time, was getting invitation from all the Grand Slams and was planning to break into the top 50.

“Then I decided to pursue doubles and hence gave up singles to be the number one doubles player. It had nothing to do with Mahesh. To say that I sacrificed my singles career for him is utterly silly,” Paes said.

“I respect Mahesh as a player and respect everything we did together as a doubles pair,” he added.

The interview on the portal earlier quoted Paes saying that the decision to partner Bhupathi cost him his singles career.

Paes and Bhupathi’s tumultuous relationship is well-documented and despite having huge success together, they have not seen eye-to-eye on several issues. — PTI

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