London: Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna, who took on the All India Tennis Association to compete as a team in the London Olympics, have been seeded seventh in the men’s doubles event of the sporting spectacle that will unfold with an opening ceremony here tomorrow.
Bhupathi and Bopanna are placed a rung above the Serbian combination of singles’ world number two Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki in the tournament to be held at Wimbledon.
Bhupathi and Bopanna had a bitter row with the AITA after the association separated the pair in the initial selections for the Olympics.
Bhupathi, and later Bopanna, were asked to pair with Leander Paes initially but both the players steadfastly refused to follow the AITA’s diktat.
After weeks of wrangling, the duo was allowed to travel to the British capital as a team while Paes, India’s lone tennis medallist in the Games having won a bronze in singles play at Atlanta in 1996, was combined with the lower-ranked Vishnu Vardhan.
Paes and Vardhan are unseeded in the mega-event.
In fact, Bhupathi and Bopanna are the only seeded Indian players in fray in tennis.
The top seeds in the men’s doubles draw are expectedly American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan, followed by the French combine of Michael Llodra and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Janko Tipsarevic and Nenad Zimonjic of Serbia have been seeded third.
In women’s doubles, Sania Mirza and Rushmi Chakravorthy will compete as an unseeded team.
Wimbledon champion Roger Federer is top seed for men’s singles, with Beijing Olympic bronze-medallist Djokovic seeded number two. Another leading contender and defending champion Rafael Nadal has pulled out due to a hamstring injury.
Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus tops the women’s seeds, followed by Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
Tennis competitions commence on 28 July.