London Olympics: After Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna also refuses to partner Paes
Zeenews Sports Bureau
New Delhi: After Mahesh Bhupathi, his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna has officially informed All India Tennis Association (AITA) that he would not partner Leander Paes at London Olympics.
He has reportedly written an e-mail to AITA saying that he also did not want to team up with Paes.
Mahesh Bhupathi has also reportedly written a letter to AITA stating that he won’t partner Leander Paes in doubles at London Olympics. His latest move might jeopardize his chances to take part in London Olympics at all.
This came after Bhupathi publically alleged Paes, his former doubles partner, of backstabbing him and refused to partner him despite AITA announced their decision to send a doubles team consisting of him and Paes for London Olympics.
With AITA not ready to backtrack and announce different partner for Bhupathi, the Bangalore-based player will have no option but to miss out the Olympics berth and to possibly face sanction because the All India Tennis Association had categorically said it would not change the players` combination for the London Olympics.
AITA President, Anil Khanna had made a strong defence of the selection committee`s decision on picking the duo.
Urging Bhupathi to be a "little more mature", Khanna asked him to put the national interest first.
"Both (Bhupathi and Bopanna) have to realise that the nation comes much before commitment to each other," he said.
Khanna said if Bhupathi expects AITA to buckle under pressure and not pair him with Paes, "it will not happen".
Khanna had stressed that The Paes-Bhupathi pair is the best team for the Olympics.
"It will have to be Leander and Mahesh," he said.
Arguing that the Paes-Bhupathi pair is the best bet for India, Khanna said a medal-winning team is possible only with Paes.
"Olympics is a different ball game and tougher than a Grand Slam and wealth of experience that the duo has would keep them in good stead in crunch and pressure situation. We have to send medal winning team," Khannahad said.
Earlier, a furious Mahesh Bhupathi had lashed out at the AITA by terming his pairing with Leander Paes for the London Olympics as "worst possible in the interest of the country".
Bhupathi was also furious that AITA chose not to send two teams for the mega event and said the decision has something "more to it than meets the eye."
"The ship that I and Leander boarded has sailed long time ago. We have split four times, gone to the Olympics four times and returned empty-handed. For us going back to the Olympics (together) is worst possible in the interest of country," Bhupathi had said on Friday.
Bhupathi, who dared the AITA to ban him, didn`t stop short of calling Paes a "back-stabber" referring to latter`s decision to split during the end of last season.
“He (Paes) publicly and privately stabbed me in the back in November, last year and things can`t be turned around. We don`t speak and have no camaraderie," he had told reporters.
Bhupathi took potshots at AITA saying that with Bopanna`s emergence as a top doubles player, the federation had options this time around.