Mahesh Bhupathi said the success and on-court relationship he shared with Leander Paes is difficult to be replicated in tennis. Bhupathi, who was in the city to attend a book launch, said there is no point in dragging the relationship into controversy as both the players tried to sort it out without much result in the past.

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“What we were able to achieve as a team from 1996 to 2002, I do not think it will ever be replicated in the sport of tennis,” Bhupathi said. “Two kids coming up from below 100 to be No.1 in the world, is something very special. Obviously things did not work out for respective reasons after that. We tried a couple of times, but it did not work out. I don't think you can fault us for not trying,” the non-playing Captain of Indian Davis Cup team said.

“We kept dealing the shots coming back again in 2011. We knew the relationship was not only special for ourselves but for the entire country. It is what it is,” Bhupathi, who won three Grand Slam titles apart from 25 ATP doubles titles with Paes, said. “Probably a picture signed by both of us deserves to be there in the museum,” he said in jest while adding that controversies are “over exaggerated and magnified many times by the media. Unfortunately that is the world we live in.”

Deepa Malik, the first woman to win a Paralympic Games medal, was also felicitated in the function. “It feels nice that people with disabilities are getting encouraged by my achievement. That is inspiring me to go for more and I wish to win a gold in 2020 in Tokyo Paralympics and make it a golden jubilee birthday,” the 46-year-old winner of shot-put silver in Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, said.