When it comes to Tennis involving India, the helpless sports follower isn’t left with much choice but to go through pages of articles being written on the bitter-sweet relationship between the two tennis veterans of India, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. Every time a major ATP tournament or a Grand Slam is about to happen, speculations are always rife regarding the duo pairing up. The answer to which over the last few years has more often than not, been a big No.
While it never appeared nice, we would still somehow make do since both of them, even with different partners, would achieve a number of laurels for themselves. That being said, ATP tournaments and Grand Slams give a player the freedom to choose his/her doubles partner, irrespective of nationality, so it still wasn’t much of a problem.
This time though, the problem has gone through the roof. This time, neither is it an ATP tournament, nor Wimbledon, but the Olympics. Personal animosity has risen to such an extent that the two players who are supposed to be among genuine gold medal hopefuls for a country that is starved of Olympics achievements, have decided to put themselves before the nation. The question that arises is ‘Why?’
Why, is it that the two of them are more concerned about ‘whom to play with’ rather than ‘what to play for’?
Why is it, that mature people like them cannot put minute issues behind for a greater cause?
Why is it, that the bigger picture is not visible to them?
Why is it, that India’s medal hopes have to suffer at the expense of their personal rivalry?
I am not pointing fingers at any particular individual among the two. Rather, both of them have collectively failed the average sports fan of India who admires their brilliance on the court and expects them to bring national glory at a sporting event as huge as the Olympics.
Mahesh Bhupathi’s argument of having had no match practice with Paes and that he and Rohan Bopanna have been gelling well to forge a team for the Olympics really doesn’t hold much ground. The fact of the matter is, the two of them have known each other for many years now and played enough tennis together to know each other’s tactics and game plan. So it shouldn’t take much longer for the two of them to hit the ground running together.
Okay, all said and done, wish granted to both of you Sir.
AITA announced two teams for the Olympics (or for them, rather), with Leander Paes pairing up with Vishnu Vardhan and getting the mixed doubles pairing with Sania Mirza. A fair decision, since Bhupathi was going to have his way for the doubles. It was only correct to let Paes get the nod for the mixed-doubles. But Mr. Paes doesn’t seem to be satisfied with that either, and now mulls the option of not going to London at all.
*Sigh*, goes the collective gesture of the sports follower. There doesn’t seem to be any way out of this mess.
Both players, swamped in individual glory and personal ego have all but betrayed the trust that an Indian sports fan has in them. Both players have given more importance on who to share the court with, rather than who to share the winners’ podium with. Both players have decided to give their own personal excuses, which in no way can be held higher than the nation’s sporting cause.
A sincere request to both the players:- The sports fans of India expect a lot from both of you and pin their hopes on the two of you for bringing national glory at an event as grand as the Olympics.
Please, do not hold our hopes to ransom.
Please, do not sell our faith in the market of ego.