London, Jul 23: Veteran tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi on Monday said he never thought of playing five consecutive Olympics and expressed a desire of meeting Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt in the Games village during the sporting extravaganza.
"Well to be honest, when I started my career it never figured to me that I will figure in the Olympics for the fifth time (in a row). This is a very special moment for me to be part of this global multi disciplinary sporting panorama," Bhupathi said in an interaction at the Games Village.
"I have been blessed with an extraordinary successful long career. Hopefully my fifth Olympics will be another milestone," he added.
As to why he was keen to meet Bolt, he said, "Bolt represents the best of human endeavourer. He is best runner on the planet at the moment and he is clean so far. He has mesmerised the whole new generation. He has lost a couple of times this year that shows even the greatest of sportsperson is not invincible. And remember he does not come from the first world country."
Asked about the chances in the Olympics, the veteran was hopeful but also aware of stiff competition awaiting him and his partner Rohan Bopanna.
"It depends how we play. We have as good a chance as anybody else. There are going to 20 to 25 great teams in the competition. We will have to win four matches to think of a podium finish, we will take one match at a time.
"But let me tell you it is going to be the toughest contest, much tougher and better than Grand Slams because best and the brightest among the tennis players are taking part here. Even the top singles players will also be playing doubles. But I am not bothered about others because I and (Rohan) Boppana are focused on our matches."
Bhupathi said, if he comes out winning a medal, it would be biggest achievement of his career.
"My dream is to stand on podium, it will be the best thing to happen to me. Wimbledon and other Grand Slams are annual affairs, you win or lose a grand slam and then move onto other and so on but Olympics come only once in four years, it is a different ball game altogether," he said.
To a question as why top professionals are keen to play in the Olympics, he said, "Tennis players world over are very patriotic. Having played for money and fame in the ATP and Grand Slams regular basis they want to play for their country, to raise the profile of their country and Olympic provides that platform."
Why he is so fascinated by the Olympics, "Well, it takes you out of your shell. You watch greats of other sports. You realise there is a huge world beyond you sport also."
Asked if one expect to see him playing in the next Olympics in Brazil, Mahesh bursts into huge laughter, "In Beijing also I was asked the same question there too I laughed and today my answer again is a laugh."
How long he is planning to keep playing, and his reply was simple, "Look I play year to year basis."