Rohan Bopanna launches scathing attack on AITA after Arjuna Award snub
The list of athletes recommended for the Arjuna Award for the year 2017 was announced on Thursday and featured one tennis player, who after years of hard work and toil on the circuit, will finally be honoured by the Government of India. However, instead of reigning Roland Garros mixed doubles champion Rohan Bopanna, it is Saketh Myneni who is up for the award, a decision which left many people astounded.
The Arjuna awardees list consisted of 17 athletes from a wide variety of sports and a few surprise inclusions and exclusions can be pointed out, but none is more conspicuous than the leaving out of Bopanna, who was widely tipped for the honour, especially after his exploits in Paris earlier this year.
Earlier today on Saturday, the doubles star finally broke his silence and shared his thoughts on social media about his exclusion from the list. In a scathing piece, he called out the All India Tennis Association and used adjectives such as 'disrespectful' and 'sloppy' for the governing body.
He talked about how the award is not merely an acknowledgment of an athlete's victories but also of the time they devote to their sport and a testament to their patience and perseverance. He followed it by congratulating Myneni on the award as well and expressed his pride at his colleague winning the honour.
Bopanna then went on to launch a massive attack on the AITA, calling their failure to send his nomination prior to the deadline 'disrespectful' and termed is a 'lack of professionalism'. He also pointed out that this is not the first time that such a thing has happened with him and that he has been hearing excuses for the past decade.
The time period of consideration for the award this year was from January 2013 to December 2016, during which Bopanna had won seven ATP doubles titles along with eight runners-up finishes. In July 2013, he also achieved his career-best ranking of world number 3.
During this period, he also reached the semifinals at Wimbledon in 2013 and 2015, and was a regular match-winner for India in their Davis Cup fixtures.
After his French Open victory with Canada's Gabriella Dabrowski, the AITA publicly claimed that they will recommend Bopanna for the Arjuna award and said that is was something long overdue. However, at the time of reckoning, his name was inexplicably not put forward by the body, despite the fact they are allowed to nominate more than one player as well.
It is a shame that one of India's longest-serving sportspersons has to go through such an ordeal and has to take to social media to call out authorities. We hope that Bopanna gets his due as soon as possible.