Tokyo Olympics 2020: Rohan Bopanna frustrated by lack of clarity over doubles cut

Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan are set to miss out on the Tokyo Olympics, which get underway on 23 July, unless there are withdrawals.

FP Sports July 09, 2021 13:32:06 IST
Tokyo Olympics 2020: Rohan Bopanna frustrated by lack of clarity over doubles cut

Rohan Bopanna (top) and Divij Sharan in action at 2021 Wimbledon. Image: Instagram/DivijSharan

Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina are confirmed tennis entries for the women’s doubles draw at the Tokyo Olympics. There will be no place for Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan, with a combined ranking of 113, unless there are multiple withdrawals. In case the duo don’t make it, this would be the first time India will not have a men’s doubles team at the Summer Games since 1992.

But the lack of clarity over what is the cut-off for the Olympics makes it irksome for Bopanna. “I’ve been asking what the cut is for the last five days, nobody really knows,” Bopanna said at Wimbledon. “I don’t know why the ITF is not releasing the official cut. Some say we are two out, some say four out. Technically we're in the cut. The combined ranking of the last team is 204. But this time the ITF has made singles a priority ahead of the doubles ranking. So guys like (Matwe) Middelkoop and (Robin) Haase, who have a combined ranking of 76, are not in. ATP doesn’t know, ITF doesn’t know and it is impossible for us to plan then.”

These are indeed difficult times for Olympics with COVID-19 lingering in Japan and an ever-changing set of rules around handling it. On Thursday, it was announced no fans will be allowed to attend the Games – a first in the events’ history.

The attempt by the organisers is to have fewer athletes as possible but to ignore tennis doubles specialists in favour of the singles entrants is not the right way to go, feels Bopanna. “Singles ranking is given priority because of COVID protocols, you only want a set number of athletes there,” Bopanna said. “It’s like saying if you’re going for a long jump let the same guy do the high jump… It’s two different disciplines at the end of the day. Players have worked years to get their rankings high enough to represent their country at the highest stage. It is definitely frustrating,” said the World No 38.

Mirza, who partnered Bopanna at the 2016 Rio Olympics and at Wimbledon where they lost in the third round, finds the wait “frustrating”. “Our real chance for a medal at Olympics or the Asian Games is the mixed doubles,” said Mirza. “It’s something Rohan and I came close to winning the last time. It’s frustrating not knowing how far out you are.”

“We’re playing together after so long but we obviously have the level. We’re playing against the top teams and we’re right there. I would like to know what the chances are because mixed (doubles) is something that we have a medal-winning shot at,” added Mirza who played her first major after 2020 Australian Open.

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