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Tokyo Olympics 2020: Will India's failure to qualify in the tennis mixed doubles event impact their medal prospects in Tokyo?

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna: The star mixed doubles pair of India will be missing in Tokyo
Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna: The star mixed doubles pair of India will be missing in Tokyo
Svk Sengupta
ANALYST

The mixed doubles event in tennis has traditionally been a strong event for India in major international competitions like the Grand Slams and Asian Games. Indian doubles specialists like Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati and Sania Mirza have won many grand slams in the mixed doubles event.

Although India has never won an Olympic medal in this event yet, they came close in the 2016 Rio Olympics.The Indian pair of Sania Mizra and Rohan Bopanna lost to Czech Republic's Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka in straight sets in the bronze medal playoff match and finished 4th. However, Indian tennis has been on a steady decline since then.

Sania Mirza & Rohan Bopanna at the 2016 Rio Olympics semifinals
Sania Mirza & Rohan Bopanna at the 2016 Rio Olympics semifinals

Why India Will Not Have a Mixed Doubles Team in Tokyo

In the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics, India's top two doubles players at present, Rohan Bopanna (Ranked 38) and Divij Saran (Ranked 75) had a combined ranking of 113, which was not good enough for them to make the cut for Tokyo. This is the first time since the 1992 edition of the Olympics that India has failed to qualify for the Men's Doubles event in the quadrennial event.

Divij Saran and Rohan Bopanna
Divij Saran and Rohan Bopanna

In the men's singles division, the top two Indian players, Prajnesh Gunneshwaran (Ranked 148th) and Sumit Nagal (Ranked 150th) have failed to qualify because of low ranking.

Sumit Nagal: Failed to qualify in men's singles in Tokyo
Sumit Nagal: Failed to qualify in men's singles in Tokyo

With India's men's singles and doubles players unable to qualify for the event, India will not be able to field a mixed doubles tennis team in Tokyo . This is because mixed doubles does not have any separate qualification events for the Olympics. The teams are formed by on-spot registration of teams made up of players playing in the men's and women's singles or doubles.

How This Will Impact India's Medal Prospect in Tennis

The Mixed Doubles event would have been India's best chance to win a medal in tennis, in Tokyo. India's star doubles player Sania Mirza is making a comeback in the women's doubles in Tokyo, after a gap of 2 years from competitive sport. If she had Rohan Bopanna playing with her in mixed doubles, India would have definitely fancied their chances of winning an Olympic medal. The pair would have been one of the most experienced and formidable tennis duos in the event.

Edited by Diptanil Roy
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