Sania Mirza has been given an ‘ITF place’ for the women’s doubles, in partnership with Rushmi Chakravarthi, for the Olympics while Commonwealth Games and Asian Games gold medallist Somdev Devvarman has been given a singles wild card for the men’s event, as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced the entries for the London Games on Tuesday.
“I am extremely delighted and grateful to the ITF for the confidence they have shown in Indian tennis,” said the president of the All India Tennis Federation (AITA), Anil Khanna.
The entry in the doubles draw for Sania would make her eligible for the mixed doubles, for which the entries will be accepted only on site on July 31. AITA had originally short-listed four players — Kyra Shroff, Rutuja Bhosale, Prerna Bhambri and Sharmada Balu — to possibly pair Sania in the Olympics, under the presumption that she would stay in the top 10 of the world rankings on the cut-off date.
However, when she slipped to No. 12, the AITA had to bring in Rushmi as she had the best doubles ranking among the rest of the Indian women tennis players.
Isha Lakhani had also been brought into the picture as a possible candidate, owing to her experience with Sania in junior days, but that idea was also shelved after she had played the last Fed Cup.
Somdev Devvarman has not played on the circuit this season owing to a shoulder surgery, and was expected to return to action with an ‘injury protected’ ranking at Wimbledon. He is expected to be ready for the Olympics soon.
In the men’s doubles, Leander Paes figures with Vishnu Vardhan, while Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna have been listed as the second team.