And so it Begins... Bopanna Doesn’t Want to Partner Leander in Rio
Rohan booked a direct spot in the Olympics and now has the luxury of choosing his own partner.
One day before the All India Tennis Association(AITA) sits down in Delhi for a selection meeting for the Rio Olympics, Rohan Bopanna has released a statement that clearly indicates his partner of choice for the men’s doubles event will not be Leander Paes.
Rohan, the world number 10 in doubles as of this Monday, gets to decide his own partner having earned a direct qualification spot for the Olympics by virtue of finishing in the top 10 by the cut off date.
His statement though says he has spoken to the AITA regarding his preference, which clearly indicates it will not be Leander Paes, India’s second-highest ranked men’s doubles player in the world. Reports do suggest that Bopanna has asked to partner Saketh Myneni in Rio.
Leander, The Obvious Choice?
The ultimate decision of who Rohan Bopanna fields in his side of the net will also have to be approved by the Indian tennis association in their meeting on Saturday.
However, before Rohan’s statement, it was thought that Leander Paes had done enough, on the court, to earn his partner’s slot. The 42-year-old currently holds four Grand Slam titles and is also the second-highest ranked Indian in the world at 46.
Myneni, Bopanna’s current pick, is ranked 125.
London Drama, Part Deux?
This once again looks slated to be a repeat of the London Olympics where Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna and even Sania Mirza were embroiled in selection controversies regarding their partners for the 2012 event. While all players refused to partner Paes, it was eventually Mahesh who teamed up with Rohan and Leander was forced to play with Vishnu Vardhan. However, in the mixed doubles event Sania Mirza played alongside Paes.
India won no medals in tennis at the London Olympics. Something Leander Paes stressed on just a few days back when the 18-time Grand Slam champion was asked about his views on the upcoming selection. He had clearly stated his willingness to partner Bopanna, also adding ‘I hope it is not a repeat of the London Olympics’.
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