Five-time Olympian Leander Paes was reportedly upset as the All- India Tennis Association (AITA) entered two men's doubles teams for the Olympics in London on Thursday.
AITA president Anil Khanna said Vishnu Vardhan was chosen the partner for Paes, while Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna were fielded as a team.
“Since both Bopanna and Bhupathi did not agree, we gave Leander his third choice partner. We discussed taking disciplinary action against Bhupathi and Bopanna, but everyone felt that it would not be in the best interest of the nation,” explained Mr. Khanna.
To assuage Paes, who had categorically stated that he would pull out if Bhupathi and Bopanna were fielded as second team in the Olympics as he felt that it would set a bad precedent, the Atlanta Olympics singles bronze medallist was assured of mixed doubles entry with Sania Mirza by the AITA.
Speculation was rife that Paes was contemplating pulling out of the Olympics, when news reached him in London, about the selection.
“Leander is a great champion and we hope that he would get over the disappointment and compete in the Games. In the given circumstances, we did our best. We have taken the approval of the IOA (Indian Olympic Association) for the entries,” said Mr. Khanna.
The entries for the mixed doubles would be made on the spot after the Games begin in London on July 27. The AITA analysed the probable mixed doubles entries and said that Paes and Sania would be able to get in with their combined ranking as one of the 12 direct entries.
The AITA has sought a singles wild card for Somdev Devvarman for the Olympics. The Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist has been out of the professional circuit owing to a shoulder surgery.
The ITF will declare the wild cards on June 28.