TNI Bureau: Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken has stepped in to crack the whip on warring Tennis players and bring the All India Tennis Federation (AITA) to the ground. Maken came out in support of Mahesh Bhupathi’s logic and asked why the AITA can’t send two doubles teams to the London Olympics.
Maken backed Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna’s decision not to play with Leander Paes, saying if the duo has been playing together for the last seven months and qualify for the Olympics, they should be given a chance to represent the country.
Maken did not approve AITA’s autocratic decision to force Mahesh and Bopanna to partner with Leander even though the formers refused to play with the latter. The ego clashes between the players and irresponsible attitude of the AITA has put India’s Olympic hopes in Lawn Tennis in jeopardy.
Leander Paes too wanted either Bhupathi or Bopanna as his partner at the London Olympics despite the fact that he did not choose any of them in the ATP circuit. Paes gave the logic that he has been the top ranked player and cannot partner with a No. 5 player.
Maken talked tough on this issue and asked the AITA to sort out the issue by tomorrow and revert to him. He also asked the Tennis body to explore possibilities of sending two teams to the London Olympics.
Maken slammed the AITA for ignoring the team rankings while giving a push to the individual rankings and pointed to the fact that Doubles even in Lawn Tennis is a team effort. He also took strong exception to the talks that AITA is planning to pair Leander and Sania in the Mixed Doubles event despite the fact that Bhupathi and Sania recently won the French Open Mixed Doubles title.