Leander Paes’ Olympic hopes in Bopanna’s hands

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Image Courtesy: © Facebook - Rohan Bopanna

Leander Paes’ Olympic hopes in Bopanna’s hands

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Saketh RVK


18-time Grand Slam winner Leander Paes’ chances of going to Rio are now in Rohan Bopanna’s hands after the 2010 French Open runner-up broke into the top 10 in men’s doubles ranking. This means that Bopanna has the liberty to choose any Indian as his partner for the doubles event in the Olympics.

Rohan Bopanna has earned a direct entry into the men’s doubles event of the Rio Olympic Games by virtue of his top-10 ATP ranking released today. This also gives him the freedom to pick the partner of his choice. With Bopanna and Leander Paes not sharing a very cordial relationship, the latter’s hopes of making it to his record seventh Olympics appearance will now depend on Bopanna. The veteran cannot hope to participate in the Games like he did in 2012, with India missing out on another team due to the lack of higher-ranked players.

Leander Paes might have a slight chance to make it to Rio, with a compromise on the mixed doubles event. According to the PTI, the All India Tennis Association (AITA) might try and convince Bopanna to partner the veteran for the men’s event and pair up with Sania Mirza for the mixed doubles event.

(Also read - Leander Paes and Martina Hingis' mixed doubles title triumph at French Open)

"It makes sense if number one and two players of the country play as a team. Even a layman would also think that way. Rohan, no doubt, has the choice but here it is question of nation and not an individual. We are hoping that common sense will prevail," an AITA official told PTI.

“And Leander is no less than Rohan. Yes, his ranking has gone down but he did not have a steady partner for some time. He played well at the French Open also. We do not intend to interfere but we will act in way which is in the best interest of the nation,” the official added. 

Bopanna could also opt for Saketh Myneni, ranked 125 as other players like Purav Raja, Divij Sharan, and Mahesh Bhupathi do not meet the Davis Cup criteria to be eligible for Olympic nomination. 

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