Leander-Bhupathi face big test

ATHENS, AUG. 14. India's star tennis pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi face a stern Olympic test when they meet Andy Roddick and Mardy Fish in the first round of the men's tennis doubles event here on Monday.

The Indians, seeded fifth in the event, have a difficult task ahead. But both Paes and Bhupathi are not bothered by the tough draw. ``It's the toughest possible draw that you can have. But we are not complaining, we are quite prapared,'' Bhupathi said.

``Roddick is one of the leading singles players in the world. But we are confident. We'll give our best shot,'' Bhupathi said.

If Leander and Bhupathi manage to cross the first hurdle, they will meet the winner of the Roger Federer/Yves Allegro (Switzerland) vs. Marcin Matkowski/Mariusz Fyrstenberg (Poland) match in the second round.

The pair had won Toronto Masters title barely 13 days before the start of the Games and will be looking to find the form of 1999, which saw them reached all four grand slam finals, winning the French Open and Wimbledon.

Henin confident

Justine Henin-Hardenne will hit her first shot in anger for nearly 12 weeks when she faces Czech Barbora Strycova in the first round of the women's singles. The Belgian world No. 1 has hardly played since April because of a viral condition after winning the Australian Open at the start of the year. The heat of Athens — with on-court temperatures likely to be around 100 degrees Fahrenheit — offers a far from ideal platform for her first match since a second-round loss at the French Open in May.

First on centre court is defending champion Venus Williams, who could meet Henin-Hardenne in the quarterfinals. She tackles Hungarian wild card Melinda Czink on the blue hardcourt.— Agencies

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