Two teams likely to be Olympics: Sources – Top 10 Facts

Published on Jun 21 2012 // Sports News

New Delhi: The All India Tennis Association (AITA) will announce India’s team for the London Olympics today. Two teams are likely to be picked today with Somdev Devvarman being Leander Paes’ partner. The Tennis Association has asked a wildcard for Somdev.

Here’s your 10-point cheatsheet to the latest developments:

1. Leander Paes on Wednesday wrote a strong letter to AITA saying that he is not in favour of sending two teams to London. “It would not be acceptable, if with my ranking as the best Indian tennis player, I give up the best option of partner for winning a medal for my country and am made to play the Olympics with a player ranked 207 / 306 in the world while the No.13 and No. 15 ranked players form another team together based on their refusal to play with me.”

2 The tennis association originally wanted Leander Paes to be paired with Mahesh Bhupathi. However, after his refusal they asked Rohan Bopanna to partner Paes but he also declined.

3. Bhupathi and Bopanna are in favour of AITA sending two teams as that would allow them to pair together. Both of them had written to the association, saying, “We have worked together on strengthening our partnership and have proved its benefits. As a result, we have maintained our position as one of the top Men’s Doubles teams in the world.”  The pair won a Masters 500 title in Dubai, in February this year.

4. Paes, however says in his letter to the Tennis Association, “We cannot be condoning or rewarding the drama enacted by Mahesh and Rohan. This would be a bad precedent.”

5. Despite The AITA has indicated that it will stick to its original decision of sending only one team and said that it is difficult to imagine a team without Leander. AITA was expected to announce its decision on Wednesday but postponed the announcement till Thursday, which is the last day to submit names for the Olympics.

6. Sports Minister Ajay Maken had tried to intervene, and asked why the Tennis Association is adamant on sending just one team.

7. The tennis association wrote back saying that it would be meaningless to send Paes with a younger player who has not played a Grand Slam. “Leander being the best player must be paired with either Rohan Bopanna or Mahesh Bhupathi,” the letter said.

8. Paes is also keen on partnering Sania Mirza. Paes’ ranking as World No. 7 and Sania’s as World No. 12 give them a combined rank of 19, which means they qualify directly but Mahesh, ranked 15, and she come at 27 and don’t qualify directly.

9. In the mixed doubles, AITA wants Sania to pair with Bhupathi as the duo has had success together and recently won the French Open title. They had also won the 2009 Australian Open. AITA has asked for a singles and doubles wildcard for Sania.

10. However, according to the rules if Bhupathi does not feature in the men’s doubles event, he cannot play in the mixed doubles.

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