After Bhupathi’s stubborn refusal to team up with Paes, Bopanna’s stand has put All India Tennis Association (AITA) in a fix after it made the controversial decision to nominate the long-feuding Lee-Hesh for the Games next month.
Bopanna wrote to AITA this morning, making it clear that he cannot combine with Paes although it is his “dream to represent India in Olympics”.
Bopanna said he was approached by the AITA with a request to pair with Paes as the AITA’s ‘second choice’ team.
“With all respect and humility, I have been unable to accept AITA’s offer and have communicated my decision to them in writing this morning,” Bopanna said in a statement.
Bopanna said the very basis of his forming a team with Bhupathi was to play in Olympics together and the tennis body not only knew about it, but encouraged them.
The big-serving player, who is in demand from both Bhupathi and Paes for the London Games, also said that he and Paes do not make a good pair and their partnership is unlikely to yield any result.
“Since the beginning of the year, I have partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi towards playing together as at team at the Olympics. This was communicated to the AITA at every step and we were encouraged to continue to play together.
“Having played alongside Leander Paes only twice during my career, I recognise that as a team we are under-prepared for the demands of the Olympics and, in good faith, I could not accept AITA’s offer that we play together.”
Bopanna conceded that his decision would not go down well with many but he won’t risk his professional integrity for a shot at the Olympics.
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