The Great Indian Tennis Debacle



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To start with, I would like to thank the troublesome trio of Indian tennis, especially Mahesh Bhupati and Rohan Bopanna, who by refusing to play with Leander Paes thrilled me with a rush of nostalgia.

For, the way they have acted during the entire episode (concerning AITA’s decision of choosing Indian doubles team for the Olyempics) reminded me of innocent tantrums, we as kids used to throw.

I remember, we used to fight over trifles and then say the famous “katti”, signalling it by thumbing our chins at the ‘enemy’ and not playing with that person ever (thankfully that ‘ever’ lasted hardly few hours or days).

The only difference being that the tantrums, those of children, were innocent, typical of a pure-hearted candid childhood, while the tennis trio’s demeanour smacks of colliding egos and a blind narcissism.

Immersed in self, they complacently let themselves forget that when the matter concerns nation’s glory one must leave the self behind, trapped in drawing room’s trophies, peeping from that giant arrogant mirror.

For, when you are representing your nation out there on a foreign soil, India is the first name that you would be addressed with. Your individual names come only after. So, one must act as one along with other compatriots.

Bhupathi’s rude rebuttal of AITA’s decision is emblematic of the unapologetic arrogance of players (especially of those playing for money minting games, tennis being one of them).

I think, even high school students are far more prudent, because when they have to slug it out against another school, they let go of their personal differences, to trounce the competitors and bring to school that shining trophy that boosts the ego of the entire school and not just one individual.

I just wish our legendary tennis players could understand that.

But, sadly, Bhupathi has put his personal feelings above the nation and wants to be paired with Bopanna, as he says he has been preparing with him for the London Olympics.

Leander and Bhupathi have pulled off marvellous feats together but because “Leander lied” to him several times and changed his partner during a tournament in November 2011, without informing him, Bhupati says he cannot team up with Paes.

“If AITA feels that putting him (Paes) with one of us will have a chance for a medal, then they don`t know anything about tennis,” Bhupathi lashed out at the association.

Bhupathi reasoned that for winning matches, what is needed is “comfort, chemistry and camaraderie”.

I would like to remind Bhupathi that he has, in the past, won several matches and tournaments with Paes as his partner. That means, back then he did share that match winning “comfort and chemistry” which according to Bhupathi is now history.

There is a section supporting Bhupathi stating that he can’t win a match with a partner with whom he shares an ill-will. Because, they say, you need to be very finely acquainted with your partner’s slightest moves, the twitch of an eyebrow and its connotations, the intentions and the spontaneous actions while hitting the ball. But then, it is said that there is a very fine line demarcating love and hatred.

You know everything about a person you love and much more about the one you hate. So, I believe, Bhupathi and Paes are well tuned, mutually they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and so they can complement each other brilliantly.

Only if, they could brush away the negativities and evoke, and harness the positive vibes again that once flowed between them, they would surely bring many more laurels for the country and what better opportunity than the Olympics to salvage the nation’s pride in sports.

Also, the Sports Ministry’s advice must be heeded too. There’s no harm in sending two teams to London. More the players, better the chances of eking out medals.

It is said that a relationship flourishes only when people appreciate their similarities and make intelligent use of their differences.

I wish this tennis triangle soon softens its rough edges and turn ups with golden circles.

Cheers for the Indian trio! Go, get the medals! London’s waiting!