‘I was at World Trade Centre a day Paes recalls narrow escape

This day marks the 20th anniversary of the deadly 9/11 terror attacks, which claimed the lives of almost 3000 people

This day marks the 20th anniversary of the deadly 9/11 terror attacks, which claimed the lives of almost 3000 people.

This day marks the 20th anniversary of the deadly 9/11 terror attacks, which claimed the lives of almost 3000 people. The horrifying event took place just two days after the conclusion of the US Open 2001. The star Indian pair Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi had made a first-round exit from the tournament but were based in New York, gearing for their upcoming Davis Cup tie against the United States scheduled to be held ten days later.

Paes, who was present at the World Trade Centre Tower 1 a day before the attack, talking to Indian Express said he left the city and was in Frankfurt when the attack took place.

Meanwhile, his doubles partner Bhupathi was still present in the city, approximately 72 blocks away from the WTC tower. Recalling the events, Bhupathi said: “In the beginning we thought it was a plane crash, and then we saw the second plane going into the building.”

“There was a lot of fear and we had friends in the WTC vicinity who couldn’t get out. They had to walk all the way to my apartment, it was just a mess,” he added.

Crowd reception post 9/11 attacks

With America witnessing one of the most deadliest attacks, tennis was the last thing anyone was worried about. The Davis Cup tie between India and the United States was the first major tennis tournament held post the attacks, after a reshuffle in the dates from the original ones.

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From the Indian contingent Bhupathi, Paes, Harsh Mankad and Fazaluddin Syed flew into Winston Salem, the venue of the Davis Cup tie. The veteran Indian pair of Bhupathi and Paes, who excepted a hostile atmosphere, were graced with a warm reception by the crowd, indicating that they remembered the lost ones but the mood had changed.

The atmosphere was fantastic. The public and the American team was fantastic. They welcomed us very well,” Paes recalled.

“It was a packed stadium, and there were a lot of tributes to the New York police, fire department and other services by the players and the fans,” added Bhupathi.

The tie ended with USA claiming a commanding 4-1 win over India.