One more news clipping I wished I had saved: soon after Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi first began having problems with each other, the greatest doubles player of them all, John McEnroe, spoke his mind on them. Remember this was also soon after 1999, when Paes and Bhupathi had reached the finals of all four tennis Grand Slams, winning the middle two. They had the doubles world at their feet. They could have gone on to be the next great doubles pair, following Hewitt/McMillan, Lutz/Smith, Gottfired/Ramirez, McEnroe/Fleming, Flach/Seguso, Woodforde/Woodbridge -- a long and glittering line. Through those glorious months of 1999, Paes/Bhupathi seemed primed for vast success, poised to take their place in that line.
Instead they fell out with each other. They've both had some success since, but nothing like the promise of 1999.
And for that, McEnroe, never one to mince words, referred to them as "stupid" or "foolish", some word like that. Because this Indian pair had not understood the meaning of professionalism in their sport. The worth of what they had found, as a team.
They could have been great, Paes and Bhupathi. Instead they choose to be petty and foolish. Tennis lost, for sure. The two of them lost more.