Bopanna refuses to partner Paes at Rio 2016
Rohan Bopanna has refused to choose 18-time Grand Slam winner Leander Paes as his doubles partner for the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016, it has emerged.
In a lengthy letter to the AITA (All-India Tennis Association), the top-10 doubles player said he wanted to be paired with Saketh Myneni rather than Paes at the Olympic Games in Rio this August.
Bopanna received an automatic qualification to the Olympic Games on the basis of his top-10 ATP men’s doubles ranking. The Indian and his Romanian partner Florin Mergea recently lost at the quarter-finals of the French Open, and partnered by Nicolas Mahut of France, has now exited at the same stage at the Ricoh Open in Germany.
Myneni, ranked 125th in the ATP doubles rankings, crashed out in the 2nd round of the French Open this year in the singles.
He has been more active on the Challenger circuit, albeit with mixed success though he has reached a number of finals.
Given Paes’ significant experience and the fact that he recently won the mixed doubles title at the French Open with partner Martina Hingis, he would likely be a strong bet for India’s success at the Olympics.
The AITA selection committee are due to meet on the 11th of June, 2016 and will take the final decision on who will partner Bopanna at the Olympics.
In a statement, Paes said he felt that his pairing with Bopanna would be the country’s ‘best bet’ at the Olympic Games, a statement to which Bopanna is yet to respond.
India’s tennis contingent to London 2012 had similar issues as AITA aimed to have the successful Paes-Bhupathi pairing reunite for the Games. With each player refusing, Paes was partnered with Vishnu Vardhan as Bhupathi partnered Bopanna.
Neither team won a medal.
Players have been contacted for comment.
More to follow.