Speak with any All India Tennis Association (AITA) official or even the contemporaries of Leander Paes, and they will tell you why no one is keen on partnering Paes when it comes to representing India.The problem with Paes is that of mistrust. It’s well known that AITA president Anil Khanna has given Paes a long rope to do whatever he wants to do with the Davis Cup and Olympics partners.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The 2012 London Olympics fiasco was an example, when Mahesh Bhupathi suffered. But now it’s 2016, and it’s Rio. Bhupathi has every reason to get back at Paes, and he shares a good rapport with his Karnataka mate Rohan Bopanna.Even more, Bopanna is No.10 in world doubles ranking, which gives him the right to pick his partner for Rio. dna has learnt that Bopanna has conveyed to AITA that he wants to combine with Saketh Myneni, India’s fifth-ranked doubles player and World No.125, as his partner for Rio.”I look forward to representing India at my second Olympics and consider it a privilege, responsibility and honour. A direct acceptance provides me the right to nominate my men’s doubles partner, an opportunity for me to exercise my judgment as to the best possible partner for me. I am looking forward to the support and good wishes of all concerned in the lead-up to the Olympics,” Bopanna said in a statement on Friday, refusing to reveal the name.AITA’s selection committee, headed by former Davis Cup captain SP Misra, will meet here on Saturday to name the Olympics and Davis Cup team. The selection panel has to stamp its approval on Bopanna-Myneni pairing, because the International Tennis Federation (ITF) rule states that a doubles team has to be nominated by the national association.It is learnt that frantic efforts were on to convince Bopanna to pick Paes for his seventh consecutive Olympics. However, the former stuck to his stand.Even Sania Mirza, who is World No.1 in women’s doubles, isn’t too keen on partnering Paes in the mixed doubles. Mirza, who has signed up with Globosport – which is managed by Bhupathi’s family – has apparently preferred Bopanna as her mixed doubles partner.This time, AITA has to listen to Mirza after denying her choice of partner before the 2012 London Olympics. Back then, Mirza was forced to play with Paes when she wanted to play with Bhupathi. Paes, a top-10 player then, was not given the chance to pair with Bopanna. Instead, Bopanna preferred to team up with Bhupathi after earning a wild card entry. Thus, to appease Paes, Mirza was forced by AITA to play with Paes.This time, however, India can field only one team in men’s doubles due to the absence of wild cards and lack of enough high-ranked players.”Bopanna wouldn’t be allowed to make an unjust demand,” a senior AITA official said. “Paes is the next highest-ranked doubles player after Bopanna and he has wealth of experience. Bopanna is forgetting what he did to Paes before London Olympics. That time, Paes was India’s highest-ranked doubles player and wanted to partner Bopanna. But Bopanna played politics and partnered Bhupathi after getting the wild card, which was arranged by AITA just to send the two teams. Paes was left to partner a lowly-ranked Vishnu Vardhan and we all know the results. History is repeating itself.”


Why Leander Paes is forced to play single in doubles?