With just three days left for the Tokyo Olympics, Rohan Bopanna has come into the limelight because of an unpleasant situation. As things stand, Bopanna is set to miss out on the Games, which means there will be no Indian men's doubles team in Tokyo.
Bopanna has not only missed out on the men's doubles with Sumit Nagal, but also on a chance to pair up with Sania Mirza in mixed doubles. And there is plenty of friction at the center of the whole issue.
What exactly is the cause of the AITA vs Bopanna controversy?
At first, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan were nominated for men's doubles at the Tokyo Olympics. But the All Indian Tennis association (AITA) subsequently informed Bopanna that he had a higher chance of playing in the Olympics if he paired up with Sumit Nagal instead, who has now qualified in the singles category.
Throwing light on the issue in an exclusive conversation with Sportskeeda, Bopanna said:
"It's very disappointing the way we have been misled. At every Olympics, there are some problems with AITA. At the Rio Olympics, I had high rankings but I was forced to play with Leander (Paes). This time it's even worse, as the misguiding by AITA has shattered my Olympic dream."
Bopanna was clearly upset and added:
"I have done my mandatory RT-PCR test required to enter Japan, my activity plan was also sent. The way AITA has reacted to me and Sania's reaction is simply disgusting. AITA is now blaming everything on us."
The Indian tennis star went on to elaborate how tennis in India can be improved from the organizational point of view.
"Nothing has changed in AITA, it was the same way several years back," Bopanna said. "We have problems all the time. I really hope the future is good for young tennis kids. Speaking the truth today will help the future.We really need a good administration in AITA that will change the future of Indian tennis and no one has to suffer like we did."
While the AITA and Bopanna continue to take potshots at each other over the Tokyo Games qualification, Sportskeeda caught up with an ITF official at the Ariake Tennis venue in Tokyo. In the exclusive chat, the official (who chose to remain anonymous) said:
"16th July - 4 PM UK Time was the final deadline for replacement of singles and doubles. We then followed up with AITA and Sumit Nagal's singles entry was accepted. We never confirmed that Bopanna and Nagal qualified for the doubles draw."
The official added:
"At the Olympics, the IOC has allowed the top 24 entries in doubles. We have to priotise doubles players with singles players then doubles players with one singles player. In doubles, replacements were allowed only due to injuries, illness or COVID-19 positive cases."
While Bopanna's dream has been shattered, there is still a slight chance for Sania and Nagal to play the mixed doubles.
"Sania and Nagal are eligible to play but not qualified as the rankings need to be quite high," the official went on. "The final list for mixed doubles will be published on 27th July."