Tricky issues confront tennis selectorsJune 14th, 2012 - 8:55 pm ICT by IANS
Bangalore, June 14 (IANS) Individual whims, backroom intrigue and politics are likely to dictate the selection of the Indian tennis contingent for the London Olympics as the All India Tennis Association’s five-man selection committee meets here Friday.
Much of the debate centres around the doubles - men’s and mixed. In the men’s event, Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi have reportedly indicated that they would like to pair up as both have direct entry on the basis of their individual doubles rankings.
In the process, Leander Paes, who is ranked higher at seven than Bopanna (12) and Bhupathi (14), is the odd man out if reports that the other two doubles specialists have written to AITA wanting to team up, are to be believed.
To top it, there is an equally vexatious issue concerning the mixed doubles combination. Sania Mirza (current doubles ranking 12) and Bhupathi last week won their second Grand Slam title in the French Open, three years after taking the Australian Open crown.
Their recent success makes them the obvious combination with Paes again being left out. In 2006, Paes and Mirza won the gold at the Doha Asian Games, but lost in the quarter-finals at home in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
Bhupathi had aired his thoughts at this year’s Australian Open when he said the “politics of our association (AITA)” would decide whether or not he will pair up with Mirza at the Olympics.
In the meantime, the AITA is also making efforts to get a wild card entry for Mirza, who is currently ranked 238 in singles (as against career-high of 31 in 2005).
The five selectors — Jaideep Mukerjea, Zeeshan Ali, S.P. Mishra, Rohit Rajpal and Balram Singh — are understandably tight-lipped though in some quarters, it is strongly felt that Paes and Bhupathi should at least get together for the men’s doubles as they did for 2004 Athens Olympics where they reached the semi-finals.
With Paes and Bhupathi parting ways for reasons best known to them, and Bopanna coming into the equation, the selectors indeed have some hard decisions to take on the morrow.
Interestingly, Paes and Bhupathi came together in 2011 after a nine-year break, chasing a career Slam, but lost in the Australian Open final and were semi-finalists at the year-ending Masters in London.
Eventually, the final decision on the doubles teams could rest on the two central figures, Paes and Bhupathi, and their comfort levels in coming together rather than technicalities.
- Paes to partner Bhupathi at London Olympics (Lead) - Jun 15, 2012
- Sania, Somdev get wild card; 7 Indians for Olympic tennis (Lead) - Jun 27, 2012
- Paes serves a threat, AITA defers Olympics selection (Roundup) - Jun 20, 2012
- Maken questions AITA's decision to pick one team - Jun 18, 2012
- AITA keeps players happy; to send two teams for Games (Second Lead) - Jun 21, 2012
- Paes threatens to withdraw from Olympics - Jun 20, 2012
- Paes to play with Vishnu, Bhupathi-Bopanna team up (Lead) - Jun 21, 2012
- Full text of AITA release - Jun 15, 2012
- Only wildcard can revive Sania's Olympic hopes - Jun 11, 2012
- Vece Paes slams AITA's decision - Jun 21, 2012
- French title will not get Sania-Bhupathi London ticket - Jun 08, 2012
- Sania tears apart AITA, doesn't spare Paes and Bhupathi (Lead) - Jun 27, 2012
- Selector Rohit Rajpal to meet Paes in London - Jun 22, 2012
- Olympic tennis: Rebel pair of Bhupathi-Bopanna knocked out (Lead) - Aug 01, 2012
- Players should put country first, says Maken - Jun 22, 2012
Tags: 2004 athens olympics, 2010 commonwealth games, australian open, debate centres, doha asian games, grand slam title, indian tennis, leander paes, london olympics, mahesh bhupathi, mixed doubles, odd man, open crown, parting ways, rohan bopanna, rohit rajpal, sania mirza, tennis association, tricky issues, zeeshan ali