Olympic bronze-medalist Leander Paes’ hopes of representing India at his seventh-consecutive Olympic Games may be over after Rohan Bopanna, India’s highest-ranked men’s doubles player, has reportedly asked Saketh Myneni to be his partner for the 2016 edition that is to take place in Rio de Janeiro.
Rohan Bopanna refuses to partner Leander Paes for Rio Olympics
Rohan Bopanna, as expected, is not interested in partnering Leander Paes for the Rio Olympics. He instead wants to pair up with Saketh Myneni. According to CNN News 18, Bopanna has conveyed his decision to AITA. The teams for the Rio Olympics will be announced on Saturday. Earlier, Sania Mirza conveyed her decision to AITA top brass about her preferred mixed doubles partner at the Rio Games.
“I have already spoken to AITA and conveyed my decision on the Olympic issue. They have a meeting on the 11th (June) and let’s wait for that,” Sania told PTI during an interaction on Thursday. It’s no secret that Sania and Rohan Bopanna are likely to pair in mixed doubles, the category where India have the best chance of winning a medal.
“Proud to have earned a direct acceptance to men’s doubles. I have earned the right to exercise my judgement on my partner for Rio Olympics. Look forward to AITA supporting me in the lead up to the Rio Games,” Bopanna’s letter to AITA was quoted in the report.
India’s tennis campaign suffered during the 2012 London Olympics due to lot of bad blood around team combination. Bopanna teamed up with Mahesh Bhupathi while Leander Paes was left to play with an inexperienced Vishnu Vardhan.
“We hope there will be no repeat of what happened in 2012. The selection committee’s decision will be final and of course, Bopanna can certainly voice his preference,” Chatterjee said.
Paes is keen to play in his record seventh Olympics at Rio. He told NDTV earlier this week that “he was ready” to play after winning the French Open mixed doubles title with Martina Hingis.
Paes, with 18 Grand Slam titles under his belt, is keen to partner Bopanna at Rio.
“Rohan and I are the best possible combination. We are playing at a very high level. My career speaks for itself and Rohan has also been doing well in the last 18 months. We both are ready and without a shadow of doubt; me and Rohan are the best team,” Paes told Hindustan Times.
For Sania, the focus has now completely shifted to Wimbledon where she and Martian Hingis will be defending their women’s doubles title. “Winning every tournament is a difficult thing. But it’s a pleasure being defending champions and there is pressure also. There was pressure first time also and it will be no different. We will take one match at a time,” said the world No. 1.
The duo had a 41-match winning streak that was broken in February this year, but Sania is confident that they will be able to keep the level up. “Red clay is not our favourite surface and it was one bad day. But we both then picked up our game to keep up the level in mixed doubles,” she told during the CNN18′s event where she won the ‘Indian Sportsperson of the Year’ award.
Her autobiography will be hitting the market soon and she said that it is her story of guts and glory along with pleasures and pains of being at the top for such a long time.