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August 15, 2008

Mahesh Bhupathi

Leander Paes


6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is this a heartbreak?
LEANDER PAES: Yes, it is. It's something that we worked for for many years. It's something that we've played together for many years. And it's something that is probably the only thing missing in our showcase.
We've come close to it before. We've played our hearts out. Whether it was the fact that we got a little outplayed or not, we had half chances but...
Really sitting here and trying to figure out how many chances did we really have? I don't think there were many chances really. Maybe half chances.
But, yes, it is a heartbreak.

Q. Mahesh, what Leander has said, would you like to add anything further on that with regards to the future of tennis?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Obviously, you know, we're very disappointed that, you know, we didn't go further. You know, that's the bottom line.
The future of tennis, I guess we both are going to the US Open. But as far as the Olympics goes, I think we came in as prepared as we could possibly be. You know, we played really high quality tennis last two matches. I don't think we played bad. But when you have the best player in the world on the other side of the net, a guy who's not missing balls next to him, like Leander said, we're still trying to figure out, you know, where we went wrong.

Q. Do you think it's possible to come back for the next Olympics?
LEANDER PAES: Certainly something that I'm aiming for. I feel that there are quite a few athletes here at this Olympics already who are 40-plus. At 35, there's no reason why at 39, which is what I'll be at the next Olympics, I can't.
One of my goals has been the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. Don't forget, I've only played four Asian Games because I missed one because of a wrist injury. I'm trying to aim for my fifth one, which is in two years, which is not that far away.
Really for me, it's just about just keeping my body fit, keeping my enthusiasm for tennis up. I think the quality of tennis that one is playing out there is of a very high quality, and that shows. There's no reason why I can't come back for a sixth Olympics, yeah.
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Yeah, it's just four years is very hard to plan. Of course, if in 2011 you're playing high quality tennis, and you are in the top 10, top 15, why not?
But if you're going to ask me what I'm going to do in 2012, I don't really know what I'm going to do next year right now.

Q. Do you think the legs will be good enough to last that long?
LEANDER PAES: Wait and see. I don't know yet. Can't answer that yet. It's a long time away.
But for me it's not about trying to predict the future; it's about looking after the present.

Q. Were you surprised by the way Federer and Wawrinka came out, all guns plays blazing?
LEANDER PAES: I wasn't surprised with the way Federer came out all guns blazing because yesterday he had a tough loss in singles. The way he came out last evening, granted it was 12:20 in the morning, granted the conditions are the same for everybody, but just with the concentration that he came out with last evening, it seemed like they had already planned their strategy. It seemed like they had spoken to somebody who knew how to play us.
With their strategy, the way they were serving to us, I think if we looked at the stats, which I haven't looked at yet, I felt like they served like 90% plus, first serves in. I really didn't feel like I had much of a chance on the returns because they were just serving so well. We had one half chance where we had 15-30, and next thing, Wawrinka plays an unbelievable volley.
They both came up guns-a-blazing. Federer was hitting half volleys past us at the net, one forehand shot cross-court, one backhand up the line. He is the best player in the world. Looking at that performance in doubles, there's no reason to believe that he's one of probably the best players of all time with the way he played in this match. We just got stuck with him playing unbelievably well.

Q. What was different about the last match against them?
LEANDER PAES: For one, the conditions were different. It was a bit slower maybe. But I think also in that match, their strategy wasn't quite as spot on as it was this time. They didn't serve as many first serves in. We managed to get on top of them. I'm not sure what score we beat them, but we beat them fairly handily, fairly comfortably.
Just a different match, different situation. You can't compare the two really.

Q. Leander, speaking to Federer, he said it's a sweet revenge match from Athens, he's glad he has won. What do you have to say about it?
LEANDER PAES: I guess so.

Q. We couldn't see much of the chemistry on court.
MAHESH BHUPATHI: It's too bad, because we felt it. We felt the chemistry. We've been feeling it since we arrived in Beijing. If you guys couldn't see it, that's really, you know, too bad.
LEANDER PAES: You saw what you saw, mate. I'm not going to compete with you. Whatever you saw you saw.

Q. Do you get the impression Federer was actually enjoying himself?
LEANDER PAES: A little too much (smiling). I mean, when you have a guy hitting half volleys at the net past you, and I feel like I'm not that slow at the net, you know, and a guy puts half volleys past you on a day like that you feel like you just got to hang in. That's what we were trying to do, we were just trying to hang in and hang in and hang in and hopefully get that second set to a tiebreak and hope that Wawrinka cracks. But didn't happen.

Q. If there's anything you had to do different in this match in particular, anything you could have done?
LEANDER PAES: That's what I've been sitting for the last half an hour trying to figure out what else could we have done. I don't see a damn thing. I've been trying to suss out what else could we have done. Maybe serve a little better. Maybe stay on 15-30. Maybe start a little earlier than 12:20 at night.
You can say what you want, at the end of the day, karma is the way it played out. The conditions are the same for everybody. The way it's played out here, it's played out. We've tried our damnedest. We've tried. We've work hard before the tournament. We've played tournaments together where we've got to a finals and won. We've both worked hard to get to where we are. We've tried to overcome a tough loss in Athens.
But we got stuck with Roger just playing unbelievable tennis. I mean, he obviously had a point to prove after he lost the singles. He played really well.

Q. You're obviously expressing a lot of emotion and disappointment with this result. With a result like this, how long would it take you to get over something like this?
LEANDER PAES: I'll let you know in four years.

Q. The day the draw was made, you mentioned how singles rankings have been put not just for filling up the draw, but making the seedings. Do you think that's a factor here?
LEANDER PAES: Good question. I felt it was a factor earlier on in the tournament because it could have made a difference. I mean, we got a tough draw. But it wasn't as tough as some others. If you look at Llodra/Clément, they were the Wimbledon champions last year. They played this year's Australian Open champions first round and knocked them out.
We were lucky to get seeded at 7. We had a fairly decent couple matches in the first two rounds. I must say we played unbelievably well in the first two rounds. Made both those tough matches look fairly easy.
But today's match, I just felt the seedings didn't really matter so much. Yes, it is good to play probably Roger earlier on in a tournament. Once he starts getting his rhythm, he gets that much better. But I don't know if that would have helped today. Today he just played unbelievable.

Q. Today is India independence day. What would you like to say to the Indian fraternity in our country on independence day?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Just, you know, we like to wish them happy independence day. It's just too bad we couldn't pull through for them.

Q. 13 years, great memories, 82 titles, three Grand Slams, four Olympics together. Where do you head? Do you see yourself playing any tournaments, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, Olympics from here?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Of course, you know, like you said, 13 years. Like I said at the beginning of the event, you know, we've always put our best foot forward when it comes to playing for India. Fortunately for us, we've always delivered. You know, we haven't delivered an Olympic medal yet. But, you know, it's something we take pride in and something all of you have seen our level raises when we play for the country.
You know, who knows. As long as I think both of us are healthy, in two years' time, I'm pretty sure we'll be trying to win the Commonwealth gold. It's going to be exciting for us since the games are at home. We look forward to it.

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