Friday, June 15, 2012
Controversy for India's tennis pairing
NEW DELHI -- Mahesh Bhupathi is going to the Olympics to play doubles tennis for India. It's not exactly what he was hoping for.
Bhupathi has annoyed the All India Tennis Association by refusing to partner with Leander Paes in doubles at the London Games.
The AITA chose the duo on Friday to compete in doubles at their third successive Olympic Games, but Bhupathi immediately said he didn't want to play with Paes.
Bhupathi said he preferred Rohan Bopanna, because they won their first title together in February. Bhupathi and Bopanna said in a statement they were committed to representing India and wanted to pair up.
"We have worked together on strengthening our partnership and have proved its benefits," they said. "As a result, we have maintained our position as one of the top men's doubles teams in the world."
In doubles, Paes is ranked No. 7, Bopanna 12, and Bhupathi 14.
AITA secretary-general Anil Khanna said the selection committee had picked the best pair to represent the country.
"We thought these two (Paes and Bhupathi) have the best chance to win a medal at the Olympics, that's why we have decided to field them," Khanna said. "They have played for India despite differences in the past and they should do so again at the London Olympics."
Bhupathi and Paes, both former world No. 1s in doubles, have partnered on and off for 15 years, winning 26 titles, including Wimbledon in 1999 and the French Open in 1999 and 2001.