New Delhi: The All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) on Wednesday said categorically that it reserves the right to decide on the team combination for the upcoming London Olympics and not the individual players.
AITA's sharp reaction came amid reports about Mahesh Bhupathi's comment in Raipur on Tuesday that he will never play with Leander Paes again.
"No such statement has been given by Mahesh to AITA," AITA secretary general Anil Khanna said in a statement.
"AITA will put its best team forward for the Olympics doubles event. The team will be selected on 16th/17th of June after the rankings are released in June 11 and ITF (International Tennis Federation) notifies direct entries on June 14. This meeting will be held in New Delhi," Khanna said.
"All Indian players are mature professional and are fully aware that personal preferences cannot override the interest of the nation. It is creditable upto now that no player has written to AITA that he/she will not play with any particular partner. AITA will put forward its best doubles team for the Olympics," he added.
Paes and Bhupathi, whose bitter-sweet partnership has been a talking point in the Indian tennis circle for long, had parted ways at the end of the 2011 season and chosen different partners to play in the ATP circuit in the 2012 calender.
Bhupathi chose compatriot Rohan Bopanna and Paes teamed up with czech Radek Stepanek.
AITA is hoping that India will be able to field a team in the mixed doubles event as well at the Olympics.
A top-10 player in the ATP rankings will make a direct entry into the competition and will have the liberty to choose the partner for doubles events.
Till date, both Sania Mirza and Paes feature in women's and men's doubles top-10.