Lesh-Hesh will have to play together at Beijing: AITA

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New Delhi, May 21 (UNI) The All India Tennis Association (AITA) today reiterated that former doubles partners Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi will have to play together at the Beijing Olympics.

''This has been our stand from the very beginning,'' AITA prsesident Anil Khanna asserted. ''AITA's position is extremely clear. We have already nominated their names for the doubles on February 28.'' Pointing out that the Olympics is the highest level that a sportsperson can aspire to play, Khanna said,''Mahesh and Leander are the best doubles combination available to India and we will field our best team at the Olympics.'' ''Olympic is bigger than Davis Cup. Only best players compete there and in India they are the best. Bopanna is still to reach that level. So there will be no change in the team,'' he added.

The AITA chief chided Bhupathi for giving greater priority to his personal enmity against Paes over the interest of the country.

''Mahesh should keep the country's interest in mind. I request Leander and Mahesh to forget the differences and come together to play for the country,'' he said.

Paes had yesterday said he was looking forward to team up with Bhupathi and win the gold medal at Beijing.

However, Bhupathi has denied that he wants to play with Paes and prefers to team up with fellow Bangalorean Rohan Bopanna.

UNI AB RKM RN1642

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