The recent controversy over sending men’s doubles tennis teams to the London Olympics takes me back 50 years. I had just moved into Clive’s Hostel in Tiruchi St. Joseph’s College. I was a 15-year-old village lad. I made the mistake of offering to participate in the hostel tennikoit tournament although I was the worst player in the hostel — even Tiruchi. The draw was random and lo and behold, I was paired with Selvaraj, the best player. A few people accused me of spoiling his chances. I offered to withdraw and all I got were couple of canings from Fr. Ehrart, the principal/warden.
After a couple of days of justified ire, Selvaraj told me what to do. He asked me to serve and move to the corner. He stood in the middle, either side of the centre-line, two-thirds from the net. What followed was unforgettable. Selvaraj was like a colossus. We won four matches and lost the final in a close match. The cheer we got was unbelievable.
At the end of the year, I apologised to Selvaraj. But he said I had earned him the respect he would probably have not got if he had won with a better player pairing with him. What Leander Paes should do is to pair with Vishnu Vardhan and play as only he can. He will be remembered long after the pretenders are forgotten.
Y. Anantha Narayanan,
Even if we have ego problems with our co-workers, we adjust and continue to work. Similarly, sportsmen are expected to put their ego away and play for the country. The AITA should have taken action against Mahesh Bhoopathi and Rohan Bopanna instead of giving them what they wanted.
Bhoopathi should retire if he does not win a medal in the Olympics because we, as a country, have given him what he asked for.
R. Joshua Sumanth Kumar,