(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) The controversial split of the former World No 1 tennis doubles team of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi was a great tragedy for sports in India, according to Vijay Amritraj.
Speaking to Muscat Daily during a recent visit to Oman, Vijay Amritraj said, ''I think it's the view of every sports-loving Indian that the split of Bhupathi and Paes was a great tragedy for sports in India.''
Vijay and his brother Anand had themselves been one of the top doubles teams in world tennis and had even reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1976.
Speaking of the Bhupathi-Paes split, Amritraj said, ''Here was a team that had reached the finals of all the four Grand Slams in 1999. The duo had grabbed three titles, including French Open and Wimbledon, and was ranked world No 1. They were doing absolutely great,'' said Amritraj.
''During my time, there was a pair of Bob Hewitt and Frew McMillan. The two barely spoke to each other but were successful on court. It's not like a marriage where one has to be with his spouse for 24x7. All you need is to be on court for two-three hours. I think had they been together, they would have done extremely well commercially and gone on to dominate,'' said Amritraj.
''It was clearly a big disappointment to see them split,'' he said.
After a tumultuous partnership of more than 15 years that survived at least four splits, the duo finally parted ways in 2012, citing irreconcilable differences. Since then, their relationship has been rocky, with both trading various allegations.
Talking about his own most important career wins, Amritraj said, ''There were three matches in my entire career that I believe were life-changing wins. First, as a 13 year old, winning a college tournament; then, my first national title with a win over Ramanathan Krishnan in 1972; and last, when I beat Rod Laver at the 1973 US Open that put me on front page of The New York Times and was covered live on CBS. These three were career-changing wins for me,'' he said.
''Of course, there were great matches that I have won like against John McEnroe and against Jimmy Connors, but those three stand out,'' said Amritraj.
Having led India to two Davis Cup finals in 1974 and 1987, Amritraj said, ''To survive for nearly 20 years playing both singles and doubles in Davis Cup in any circumstances underlined my longevity, which was the highlight of my Davis Cup caree