Bopanna all set to partner Mirnyi

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Tashkent, Oct 15 (UNI) India's top tennis player Rohan Bopanna is all set to partner leading doubles specialist Max Mirnyi of Belarus at the ATP Tour event at St Petersburg next week.

Bopanna has been performing exceedingly well in the doubles scene on the ATP Tour.

''I'm looking forward to playing with Mirnyi, it'll surely be a great experience for me to play with someone like him,'' said Bopanna after entering the main draw of the Tashkent Open yesterday.

''I called up Mirnyi after he broke up with his regular partner Jim Murray and he instantly agreed to play with me.

I can surely learn a lot from someone of his caliber and experience at the highest level,'' said an elated Boppana.

Asked whether they would play in the future as well, Bopanna replied. ''There is no commitment, but if we can do well and progress at St Petersburg, we can decide the future steps and hopefully continue partnerships for long.'' Bopanna, however, added that his partnership with Aisam Qureshi would continue, as they would be playing at the German and Slovak challengers in the next few weeks.

''Knowing each other for so long and our off-court relationships have helped me and Aisam to pull off some very good matches,'' he said.

Expressing bitterness over being dropped out of the Davis Cup for Romania, Bopanna said, ''I was surprised at not being in the Davis Cup team for the tie against Romania. Normally we have five players travelling four the Davis Cup team for the away tie, but for this tie, only four players were sent to Romania.'' ''I've been in the team since 2002 and have also played singles all the while. I was told I was dropped out because my performance was not good enough in the singles for a place in the squad.

''We have had differences in April, but I guess some grouses we raised have been sorted out, we need to have a high team morale and good camaraderie amongst team members, which helps in close Davis Cup ties, this was missing,'' he admitted.

''Now that we are back in the Group I, we have to keep fighting to get back into the World Group.'' On his rankings in the singles, Bopanna replied, ''Many don't know that my singles ranking has been affected because of my doubles performances. Many a times, I can't play qualifying in the singles, as I'm playing in the finals of a doubles event.

''I've had to miss quite a few singles events as the qualifying is played on weekends, and so are the semifinals and finals of doubles.

''But I guess that's part of the profession, I'm playing well and will be playing at the Challengers in Germany and Slovakia, and also qualifying at Tashkent, which will surely help my singles rankings. My performance at Newport, where I reached the quarterfinals in singles, has been the best so far this year.

''I'm just trying to leave everything behind me and trying to improve my singles rankings and get back my place back into the squad for the tie which will take on the winners of Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei in April 2009,'' he said.

Bopanna also added that travelling with his trainer Shyamal Vallabhjee, have helped him immensely to overcome his injuries.

''Shyamal, who has also been a trainer of the South African cricket team and also travels with Mahesh Bhupathi, has done a great job for me in getting me out of injuries,'' he said.

''I've realised how important it is to have a trainer on the professional circuit, if I would have had a trainer before, it would have been a boon. I feel, sometimes, it is more good to have a trainer on the tour than a coach,'' he added.

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