When Bhupathi aced Purav Raja's Instagram session

In a 30-minute Instagram live session with Purav Raja, multiple Grand Slam champion Mahesh Bhupathi answered most of the questions with inimitable honesty.

Bhupathi was candid when asked about his relationship with Leander Paes.   -  Special Arrangement

It was an entertaining Instagram live, ‘Chai with Raja’ when former National champion and doubles star, Purav Raja interviewed multiple Grand Slam champion Mahesh Bhupathi in a 30-minute session.

"I am honoured to be your first guest," Mahesh said graciously, even as he asserted himself by teasing Raja by asking him not to interfere during his two-minute monologue.

In the toughest of times, Purav has had the professionalism to play the Davis Cup with Rohan Bopanna as partner under the captaincy of Mahesh Bhupathi, and be equally comfortable in playing the professional Tour with Leander Paes.

Mahesh praised Raja for his, "ability to get along with everybody," and answered most of the questions with inimitable honesty.

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When queried about his relationship with Leander from 1999 to 2020, Mahesh was candid.

"At the peak of our partnership, we conquered the world. Won two Grand Slams in 1999, and made the finals of all the four Grand Slams. We were No.1 and the titans of the doubles world. We continued playing together on and off for 15 to 16 years. This year has been the second most exciting year, with the frying pan challenge that was watched by about 70,000 people. A few abuse us for not playing together and win more Grand Slams. We won three Grand Slams, were No.1," said Mahesh, understandably proud.

Viewing his partnership with Leander as the high point of Indian tennis, rather "Indian sport".

"We conquered the white man’s game. Sania, Rohan and all of you guys go there now, believing you can win," said Mahesh, about the influence of the partnership on Indian sport

Recalling the match point of the French Open doubles title in 1999, Mahesh joked that "the last thing I wanted was the ball to come to me."

Mahesh was quite thrilled to recall the country’s first Grand Slam title, the mixed doubles title at the French Open in 1997, with Japanese Rika Hiraki.

"I was ranked No.55, and we were the last team to get into the draw, because Rika Hiraki was No.23," said Mahesh.

Conceding that he got along well with the former president of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), Anil Khanna, even though "we don’t see eye to eye on some points," Mahesh said that the former Asian Tennis Federation president would continue to rule Indian tennis even in 2025.

Mahesh feels Novak Djokovic could be the man with maximum Grand Slam titles as he had three solid years ahead of him. He also felt that Nick Kyrgios has it in him to win a Grand Slam. He chose Leander for better backhand volley than himself; ducked the question as to whom he would not like to meet ever again, saying it would not be the right thing "to say on an open platform".

He was unable to answer some general questions, including the price of a kilogram of onion in Mumbai, but aced the tennis-related questions.

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