Melbourne, Jan 16 (PTI) All eyes will be on Leander Paesand Mahesh Bhupathi as the ''Indian Express'' returns to GrandSlam tournaments for the first time in nine years with an aimto win that elusive Australian Open trophy even as SomdevDevvarman and Sania Mirza will be the Indian faces in thesingles events.
Lee-Hesh warmed up for the first Grand Slam of the seasonwith a victory at the Chennai Open but it won''t be easy forthem at the Australian Open -- starting tomorrow -- as thecompetition will be fierce with some formidable pairs in thefray.The last Grand Slam they won together was French Open in2001 and have not competed on the ATP Circuit together sinceparting ways in 2002.
Incidentally, Bhupathi has not won a men''s doubles GrandSlam title since winning US Open with Max Mirnyi in 2002.
Paes has been successful in adding three men''s titlesapart from winning three with Bhupathi. He won US Open in 2006with Martin Damm and lifted two trophies (French Open in 2006and US Open in 2009) with Luaks Dlouhy.
But Paes and Bhupathi played together for the nation inDavis Cup and Commonwealth Games so chemistry is not a problembut the effects of growing age have started to show.
Agility and sharpness plays a big role in the doublesmatches and the Indian duo will have to be in best form andfitness if they wish to complete their Slam tally.
Rohan Bopanna is another Indian player to watch out forwho created waves last season by reaching the US Open finalsalong with Pakistani partner Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi.
The pair is growing strong and gaining in confidence andare capable of putting up a few upset results.
Picture does not look to rosy in the singles as Somdevhas been struggling to cope with the demanding Tour. Loss ofform is a big worry for him although his will and staminacan''t be questioned.
But ever since his sensational show at Chennai Open in2009, Somdev''s progress has just been okay and steady. He hasalso got a tough opening round as he will face world number 51Tommy Robredo of Spain.
It''s a huge task to tame the Spaniard and the road willonly get tougher even if Somdev manages to upset Robredo.Sania did extremely well to come through the qualifiersin the women''s singles but it will be an altogether differentball game in the main draw.
Of late Sania has been doing well and would be keen toimprove on her Grand Slam performance. Her best performancehere was in 2005 and 2008 when she reached third round.
It would do a world of good to Sania''s confidence andranking if she is able to match those two years.