In a short while from now, we’ll get to know which team will represent India in the tennis event at the London Olympics. And, in keeping with tradition, a lot of confusion and bickering has preceded the announcement.
Both Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi have made it clear to the All India Tennis Federation (AITA) that they want to play together as a team at the quadrennial event. And it’s fair given that both have been playing well on the Tour for the last six months.
But where does that leave Leander Paes, India’s highest ranked doubles player?
The fact that AITA has decided to send one team has compounded the problems.
“Now it’s an even bigger fix for the selectors. It’s become like a game of chess with Leander being cornered. It’s like there’s more to tennis than tennis,” says noted sports columnist Ayaz Memon.
Memon feels instead of spilling so much ill will in the public, the selectors should’ve decided the team by March to give enough time to the selected players to prepare for the mega event.
“The Federation should’ve stepped in. It’s their job to decide who are your players who can get you a medal. If you let players decide, then it becomes chaotic. It’s now become an insidious game of who’s gonna play. Logic, unfortunately, has gone out of the window,” added Memon.
Holding both Paes and Bhupathi responsible for the mess, Memon said the boys should’ve sorted the issue out more maturely. “Now, our best player (read Paes) may not play or our best team (Bhupathi-Bopanna) may not play. And with London likely to be the last Olympics for Paes and Bhupathi, either one is going to go out feeling sad. It’s a rigmarole,” the veteran sports writer said.
Talking of which team he would like to see at the hallowed grasscourt lawns of the All England Club, Memon said that the team that gels well off-court should play.
“The team that has the urge and desire to compete together should play. Camaraderie between players is important and so I feel Bhupathi and Bopanna should go as they are a more settled team,” Memon said.