India Tennis Association Stands By Doubles Pairings For London Games
The All India Tennis Association "stood by its decision" to pair tennis players Leander Paes with Mahesh Bhupathi for the London Olympics, according to the PRESS TRUST OF INDIA. Bhupathi and fellow player Rohan Bopanna both "refused to partner" with Paes citing "their commitment to each other." The AITA explained that the Bhupathi-Bopanna pair "was never assured of an entry to the Olympics as a team by it." AITA said, "Asking Leander to pair with a junior player would be the most inappropriate decision and will be deemed to be an insult to Leander Paes, who enjoys great respect in International Tennis Circuit" (PTI, 6/19). Meanwhile, PTI also reported that Sports Minister Ajay Maken "refused to intervene in the selection crisis that has shaken Indian tennis," leaving AITA "to take a final call" on the men's doubles lineup for the Summer Games. The ministry "had sought an explanation" from the AITA on the controversy. In a statement, Maken said, "The sports ministry does not wish to be part of selection process. We had raised certain issues because of requests from certain iconic players" (PTI, 6/19).