MUMBAI: In the twilight of his international career, 12-time Indian Grand Slam winner Mahesh Bhupathi on Tuesday said that he had probably played his "last" match for the country.
At loggerheads with the All India Tennis Association (AITA) for a while, Bhupathi was last week slapped a two-year ban by the game's governing body.
"Unfortunately the reality of the situation is anyway I have played my last match for India," Bhupathi said at a press conference.
Already 38, the tennis star felt that it would not be possible for him to represent the Indian flag after serving the 2-year ban, effectively bringing the curtains down on one of the country's best doubles player.
"I always feel like playing for India. Tennis is an individual sport and we barely get to represent the country once or twice a year. Two years is a long time," he stated.
Bhupathi also made it clear that 2013 will be his last year on the ATP tour. The multiple Slam winner said that he wasn't even sure if he would be able to play a full schedule next year.
"I am at the fag end of my career. Next year will definitely be my last on tour. I am not even sure whether I am going to play a whole schedule," he said.
Bhupathi along with his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna was banned for two years from representing the country by AITA, in what was a fallout of the well-chronicled embarrassing selection fiasco ahead of the London Olympics.
Feeling sorry for the way Bopanna got embroiled in the current controversy, Bhupathi said it was wise to part ways with his junior partner and allow him to play with someone as young as him in the future.
"It makes more sense for him to partner somebody as young as him for the next four five years," he said.
Bhupathi will partner Serbian-born Canadian Daniel Nestor in the next season.