Kolkata:Seasoned tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi on Sunday said that he was available to represent the country in next year's Beijing Olympics.
"As I have said earlier, I am available for the Olympics. And the rest is now up to the Indian Olympic Association and the All India Tennis Association," Bhupathi told a media meet on the sidelines of the ongoing USD 175,000 WTA Sunfeast Open.
Referring to the near-empty stands, Bhupathi said "we always want and expect a full stand. Sania's absence has been a big factor."
"The Twenty20 World Cup is on and the kind of form the Indian team is in will naturally attract more attention of the people. The schedule of both the tournaments clashed with this one being the sufferer," he added.
Asked how far the tournament has helped the development of women's tennis in the country, Bhupathi said "definitely, tennis as a whole hasn't grown much in our country, especially women's tennis. That notwithstanding, you cannot produce a world champion in a short time."
He referred to the wild cards given to the Indian players and said it was it was now for them to make best use of the opportunities.
"Players like Tara Iyer, Ankita Bhambri and others have been given opportunities. In the last three years, I don't remember how many wild cards I have given," he said.
Bhupathi admitted that promotion of tennis was not the only objective of this tournament.
"I am running a tournament of this magnitude and if I say that I am doing only for the promotion of the game, it would be wrong. We like to make money through sponsorship rather than banking on ticket sales," he said.