Mahesh Bhupathi’s decision to partner Martina Hingis at this US Open has grabbed quite a few eyeballs. It is an interesting team for more reasons than one. While it is 39-year-old Bhupathi’s last Grand Slam, Hingis will be playing in her first one after announcing her comeback for a second time this year.
After being forced to retire in 2003, former world No 1 Hingis returned to competitive tennis in 2005. The Swiss player teamed up with Bhupathi and the duo went on to beat Elena Likhovtseva and Daniel Nestor in straight sets to win the Australian Open mixed doubles title in 2006, which was also her first Grand Slam in her comeback then.
Hopefully, the unseeded Indo-Swiss pair can recreate that magic at Flushing Meadows this time around too. It will be a fitting farewell to the Indian and a perfect welcome gift to Martina.
“I am happy to be playing with Martina again. Last time she made a comeback, we won the Australian Open. We had lots of fun playing together and will do again I am sure,” Bhupathi told TNIE, after the mixed doubles draw was announced.
Their first round opponents are Chinese Taipei’s Jan Chan Yung and Sweden’s Robert Lindstedt.
Meanwhile, Rohan Bopanna will play alongside German Julia Goerges. Seeded third, this pair will face the unseeded pair of Abigail Spears from USA and Santiago Gonzalez from Mexico in the opening round. Sania Mirza and Romania’s Horia Tecau will take on eighth seeds Liezel Huber (USA) and Marcelo Melo (BRA).
Also, Leander Paes will not be playing in the mixed doubles event.
The German-Austrian pair of Anna Lena Groenefeld and Alexander Peya has been given the top billing.