AITA & Bopanna at Loggerheads About Tokyo Olympics Participation
The AITA and Rohan Bopanna are at loggerheads about the participation for the doubles event at the Tokyo Olympics.
Controversy and Indian tennis, ahead of an Olympic Games is not something new, and in the most recent chapter, Rohan Bopanna and All India Tennis Association are at loggerheads.
Bopanna and Sania Mirza have lashed out at AITA for a lack of clarity over nomination of players for the Olympics. The 41-year-old Bopanna said that India's apex tennis body has misled him and the entire country over his qualification.
"ITF has never accepted an entry for Sumit Nagal & myself. ITF was clear that no changes were allowed after the nomination deadline (22nd June) unless Injury/Illness. AITA has mislead the players, government, media and everyone else by stating we still have a chance. @AnurajR1," tweeted Bopanna.
AITA on their part responded with a statement, condemning the comments from India's senior pros.
"Twitter comments by Rohan Bopanna and then Sania Mirza are inappropriate, misleading and it appears, without knowledge of the rules. They should have checked the rule book of ITF regarding qualifications, something that Divij Sharan seems to have done while writing to TOPS," AITA said in a statement.
"Rohan Bopanna could not have qualified as per ITF Rules. Therefore Sania Mirza's tweet is also baseless and coming from a player of her stature, is condemnable," the statement further read.
It had been reported that the AITA had paired Bopanna with Sumit Nagal in the men's doubles competition at the Olympics by withdrawing Divij Sharan's nomination.
The AITA had thought of pairing the two since Nagal had already qualified for the singles event and was bound for Tokyo.
However, as Bopanna said the ITF had not accepted the change.
India's Grand Slam winner Sania Mirza also criticised AITA and tweeted, "Whaaattt???If this is true then it's absolutely ridiculous and shameful..by this it also means that we have sacrificed a very good shot at a medal in the mixed doubles if you and I would have played as planned. We were both told that you and Sumit's names have been given," Sania said in a tweet.
AITA also said, "Fact of the matter is that India's best entry was sent for Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan, which was the correct decision. However, they did not qualify as per ITF rules.
"Our players' rankings were not good enough for direct qualification, and we made all efforts to get them in. Rohan and Divij were fifth on alternate list on 16th July. Only on 16th July, when Sumit Nagal got a chance in Singles, we saw a possibility, since singles players were also being considered, of Sumit being able to partner with Rohan.
"We asked ITF whether the entry of Sumit Nagal will suffice to pair with Rohan Bopanna for an entry into Mens Doubles. ITF informed us that this cannot be done at this stage because of various reasons and rules. Even if it is done, the pair would still not qualify.
"Rohan with Sumit would be at third alternate pair."
(With inputs from NDTV)
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