Millennium Post

AITA picks two teams, Paes unhappy

AITA picks two teams, Paes unhappy
The ongoing Olympic team selection row created a new crisis on Thursday, following AITA’s decision to send two men’s doubles teams for the quadrangular event starting in London next month. India’s highest ranked player Leander Paes (No. 7 in ATP doubles ratings) is reportedly unhappy with the compromise formula of AITA, telling news channels that he may not take part in Olympics.

AITA, which is hopeful of Paes approving the two-team formula, further announced that Sania Mirza would play mixed doubles with Paes, and not Mahesh Bhupathi, with whom she recently won the French Open title, provided she gets a wild card.

With both Bhupathi and Rohan Boppana refusing to budge on their demand to play together in the Olympics, AITA reached a compromise on Thursday by picking the two as a team while pairing Paes with the rookie Vishnu Vardhan (ranked 207 in doubles).

AITA urged all parties to accept the decision, but Paes’s father and former Olympian Vece Paes said, ‘I don’t think Leander will agree with AITA’s decision. It is very unfair. He is a highly principled as well as emotional man. So it’s difficult to say which way he will go.’

If Paes sticks to his stand of not teaming up with a junior player – he said on Wednesday that he would ‘have no other option but to withdraw from Olympics’ – AITA will face an extremely difficult situation that may cost India an Olympic medal.

In the past, both Paes and Bhupathi kept aside their differences to represent the country, but things seemed to have reached a point of no return this time around. In order to end the crisis, AITA have now picked Vardhan as ‘the best available player without injuries right now’. Vardhan had won bronze in doubles at 2010 Asian Games besides bagging a silver in mixed doubles with Mirza.
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