Sania Mirza, Rohan Bopanna, Leander Paes: Superstars Who Love to Hate Each Other

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna played the mixed doubles in the recent Rio Olympics while Leander Paes paired with Bopanna for the men's doubles. India failed to win a tennis medal

Updated: September 19, 2016 16:01 IST
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Leander Paes Sania Mirza Rohan Bopanna
Leander Paes paired with Rohan Bopanna in men's doubles at Rio Olympics. Bopanna partnered Sania Mirza in mixed doubles.



Current Indian players like Leander Paes, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna are known in the world tennis circuit as doubles specialists. Playing doubles is quite an art. It needs plenty of understanding and skill to cover the court with dexterity.

While India's top tennis stars have won Grand Slams and several world events with their stream of international partners, they have miserably failed to combine on an off the court. Paes is again fighting a 'battle' against Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna.

A complete lack of trust, faith and respect for each other has often seen India's tennis superstars involved in digs and barbs that explain why the country returns empty-handed from big events like the Olympics.

The latest war of words has been triggered by Leander Paes. And the feisty Sania and Bopanna have not taken Paes criticism lying down.

Paes' comment that India did not field their best teams in Rio has surely hurt Sania and Bopanna.

The All India Tennis Association paired Paes and Bopanna for the men's doubles. Bopanna wanted to play with Saketh Myneni. Effectively, Paes and Bopanna lost in the first round, their differences and misunderstanding often creeping into their play.

By their sheer ranking, AITA, much against Paes' wish, fielded Bopanna and Sania in the mixed doubles. This was one event where India had a good chance to win a medal and they came close too.

Sania and Bopanna went down in the semis and then lost their bronze playoff against Czech pair Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek.

Paes is still hurt that he wasn't picked to play the mixed doubles in Rio.

"I can very clearly say that in this Olympics and last Olympics we didn't put the best team forward. This Olympics the mixed doubles was a great opportunity. What more does a man need to do than win four Grand Slams in 14 months," said Paes.

Sania and Bopanna have reacted sharply to Paes' comment, although they did not mention him by name.

Sania's "toxic" comment is clearly aimed at Paes while Bopanna's #patriotism underlines his displeasure at India's best known Davis Cupper from Kolkata.

It's a sad state of affair in Indian tennis. India just lost 5-0 the Davis Cup World Group play off versus Spain. Bopanna was not available and Paes had to play with rookie teammates against a Spanish armada led by Rafael Nadal.

Emotional Paes, playing with Myneni, almost did the unthinkable in the doubles, but Nadal came to the party at the right time in the only rubber he played for Spain.

The spirit that Nadal and Co. demonstrated at the DLTA should be a lesson for Indian tennis superstars, who love to hate each other.

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