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January 22, 2011

Mahesh Bhupathi

Leander Paes


7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Interesting day at the office today for you in your match. Not what we see often in tennis matches. What was happening on the court?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: It was good for the game, I think. I mean, heat of the moment. It's hot out there, we're trying to beat each other. A few unnecessary things were said. You know, we just got into each other. Tried to raise the atmosphere. The crowd loved it. We got into it.
Like you said, interesting day for everyone.

Q. What actually happened after the match with the verbal altercation?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: They want to clarify, you know, their behavior, why they got upset. I guess from our point of view they really had no reason to be as upset as they were. We were up a set and a break. You know, it was just a case of, you know, not being in a happy place because they were down a set and a break. That's why that was the behavior. They were trying to clarify their stance. We listened to what they had to say.
Like I said, it was the heat of the moment. After the match is over, we all have to play each other next week again.

Q. Why did they get upset?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: We always do play a very aggressive style of doubles. That's what's given us all our good results. They, being two singles players, they've probably never seen it before. They probably were taken aback a little bit. They were probably not happy that we used the word 'vamos'. I don't think they have a patent on that one. Small things like that added up. Kept adding to their frustration that we were playing good tennis as well.

Q. Leander, did you shake hands with both guys at the end?
LEANDER PAES: It was a bit strange. Feliciano López did not shake my hand, but he shook Mahesh's. And Monaco shook mine but didn't shake his.

Q. How many times has that happened over your career?
LEANDER PAES: Professional sport, the stakes are high, the heat of the moment. You get out there, the Melbourne sun kind of gets all of us a bit tired. We get stuck into it a little bit.
It's not such a big deal. Even when the supervisor came out, all of us boys were kinda chatting. López went to Mahesh and Monaco and me were chatting.
At the end of the day we're all professional athletes. We can sort out our business. Tennis is not a contact sport. A few things happen. We can sort ourselves out.

Q. To use a cricket analogy, was there a fair bit of sledging during the match?
LEANDER PAES: Not really.
MAHESH BHUPATHI: My Spanish is not good enough. Still sticks at 'vamos'.

Q. You always use the word 'vamos' or it was because it was on a special occasion?
LEANDER PAES: I've been using it for about 16 or 17 years. Just one of the words I like to use.
MAHESH BHUPATHI: I think a lot of the players like to use it.

Q. It wasn't a thought that it was against?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: Unfortunately, believe it or not, this is not the first time it's happened to me. When Leander and me were playing Orsanic and Oncins in Dubai 95, they got upset because we used 'vamos'. This was in 2000. Two years ago when I was playing Gonz√°lez and Acasuso at the French Open, I used 'vamos' and they got upset. I've been using it for a long time. If these guys are going to get upset, I'm going to continue to use it.
LEANDER PAES: At the end of the day, whether it's 'vamos' or 'allez', we're Indian, nobody has patent, we're saying it to each other.

Q. One of the TV commentators said they got a little fired up and you felt they were firing their serves directly at you.
LEANDER PAES: You mean when I had to jump out of the way?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: At 2-4, Love-40, there was one serve fired at Leander, unless he actually missed it by that much, which is possible. Like I said, we're all professionals. I don't think he would have missed it by that much. It happens in doubles all the time. They couldn't go through Leander, so they were trying to take him out.

Q. (Question regarding the umpire's role.)
LEANDER PAES: I mean, yes, that's part of the part where the umpire needs to take control of the game a little bit more, especially when it gets out of control, you know.
When there's a bit of words being thrown back and forth, I think the players can sort it out. But when guys are serving at each other, guys are getting a little, you know, silly about it, then the umpire's role is to step in.
Could the umpire have done better? Who knows. At the end of the day, we can sort ourselves out.

Q. Is it disappointing to finish a match where you haven't shaken hands with both opponents?
LEANDER PAES: Yes, it is.

Q. Happy with your form so far in the doubles?
LEANDER PAES: So far so good. Playing another bunch of Spaniards in the next round again.

Q. Are you going to use the word 'vamos' again?
LEANDER PAES: 100 percent. It's something I do. It's not against them. We don't mean anything bad by it. I love Spain. I love Spanish people. I love the language. I love the food. It's not something I do to get against them.

Q. Mahesh, you mentioned some previous altercations with Argentinian players, with Acasuso.
MAHESH BHUPATHI: No, it's not a problem. They just say something to you when you say 'vamos' and then, you know, after the match we're all okay in the locker room. They get upset when you use that word, which I find extremely...
LEANDER PAES: It's like them using an Indian word against us and we're getting upset. No reason, no?

Q. But do you think it has to do with the way they live the matches?
MAHESH BHUPATHI: No. Maybe they're just protective about their language. I don't know.

End of FastScripts

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