Sports Reporter

Chennai: Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes confirmed on Monday that they would participate — with their partners — in the Chennai Open next year. The 14th edition of Chennai Open, which will be held from January 5 to 11 at the SDAT Nungambakkam tennis stadium, will see Bhupathi partner Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and Paes team up with Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic.

Bhupathi and Knowles have been in good form, having recently clinched the Swiss Indoor Championships in Basel. Paes and Dlouhy teamed up for the first time after Roland Garros this year and claimed their first title together at the Thailand Open at Bangkok.

Paes has missed the Chennai Open only thrice so far in the last 14 years. He did not feature in the 2004 edition due to injury, and skipped the last two editions because of prior commitment to the Doha event.

Bhupathi will feature in the Chennai Open for the first time since 2005, having missed the last few editions due to injury and prior commitments.

‘Good to be back’

Confirming his participation, Paes said, “It’s always great to come back to Chennai and be part of the Chennai Open. I am glad to return to the city where I have grown up, and look forward to playing in front of a crowd that’s always been of great support to me. Lukas and I have had a phenomenal year and we hope to have a great start to the New Year. A fifth Chennai Open title would be a dream start to 2009.”

Bhupathi also expressed his enthusiasm at returning to Chennai. “I am excited to be back and playing at home after a few years. Mark and I have had a great year and we look forward to kick-starting 2009 with a big week at the Chennai Open.”

Tournament Director Fernando Soler said, “The return of two masters of Indian tennis at the Chennai Open augurs well for the tournament.”

“We are confident that they will provide some thrilling action with their respective partners, providing a great week of tennis action,” he added.

More In: SPORT | Today's Paper