Rohan Bopanna had a really bad day on the court on Saturday but his partner and 17-time Grand Slam champion Leander Paes said it was a tough day in the office and that the pair is good enough to win an Olympic medal in Rio next year.
The much-fancied Indian pair lost the doubles tie to Radek Stepanek and Adam Palvasek, which put India on the back foot against the Czech Republic in Davis Cup World Group playoff tie here at the RK Khanna Stadium.
After the loss that put India 1-2 behind in the tie with two reverse singles to play, India’s tennis legend came out in support of his partner Bopanna.
Paes said that Bopanna is a phenomenal player and he believe in him. Paes also added that he believes that he can win an Olympic medal with Bopanna.
“He is a US Open finalist and I think we should have won today’s tie. “Winning and losing is up to the gods but as long as we have the belief in each other, we can win medals. We have got the tennis and fitness to do that.”
Bopanna looked completely off colour, especially on serve, and played bad ground shots and erred on crucial points. He served well at the start but was broken many times later in the match. Paes too didn’t look his best and it seemed they weren’t clicking as a pair and lacked match practice.
But Paes said everyone goes through a tough day and it happens to everyone. He backed Bopanna saying that winning or losing in doubles is about teamwork and that he also takes the responsibility of the loss.
“I am not going to let Rohan take the full responsibility because it was the team and it is 50-50. I thought Rohan worked really hard and tried everything in his power to go after his shots. That’s his style of playing. I am the one who creates chances for him and then he goes for those chances. It is teamwork,” said Paes.
The doubles legend added that he and Bopanna take the defeat on the chin and that he has complete belief in his partner.
“Momentum is such an important thing in doubles. Momentum is the key. If we had broken at 5-5 in the first set and gone up, we would have been sitting here with a different story.
“The difference was really the big points. We take this defeat on the chin,” Paea said without making any excuses.