Veteran tennis player Leander Paes could come around and give his nod to participate in the London Olympics after all. He is unhappy at the tennis association's decision to send two men's doubles teams to the Olympics.
Here's your 10-point cheatsheet on the big story:
1) On Thursday, the All India Tennis Association decided to send two teams to the London Olympics for men's doubles event. Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna had their way as they were picked as a team, while Leander Paes was teamed up with Vishnu Vardhan.
2) However, in mixed doubles it was announced Sania Mirza would play with Paes, and not Bhupathi, with whom she had recently won the French Open mixed doubles event, if she gets a wildcard. The Tennis Association has asked for a singles and doubles wildcard for her.
3) Paes allegedly wanted a guarantee from the association that it would only be him who would partner Sania. Sources say, he was worried that if Sania and Bhupathi played well at the upcoming Wimbledon, which is also the venue for tennis at Olympics, it would jeapordise his pairing with Sania as the AITA could then decide to play Bhupathi with Sania. He has now got an assurance from AITA and the Indian Olympic Association for the same.Â Â
4) Paes, who is the highest ranked Indian (no. 7 in ATP doubles rankings), was also reported to be unhappy with AITA's decision to pair him with a junior player. Dr Vece Paes, Leander's father, had told NDTV: "Compromise formula is what was offered yesterday - Leander said he would not accept it. Now a question of his principles...his emotions would want him to play, his principles would say no."
5) Vishnu Vardhan, the tennis association said, "is the best available player without injuries right now." Vishnu had won a bronze in men's doubles at the 2010 Asian Games and a silver medal in the mixed doubles event with Sania Mirza. Speaking to NDTV, Vishnu said: "I'm very happy to be playing with Leander. I've grown up watching Leander. What he has done for the country is huge."
6) The Tennis Association admitted the two-team solution may not be fair to Paes, but asked all players to graciously accept the decision.
7) Earlier, both Bopanna and Bhupathi had refused to play with Paes. They had asked AITA to pair them as a team. Speaking to NDTV on Thursday, Bhupathi said he was relieved and ready to prepare for the London Games. "We are just happy we are going to London. We are going to use the next month to prepare."
8) Paes had written to the AITA on Wednesday that two-team selection was unfair because it meant he would be paired with a junior player. Paes, who has played in five Olympics and was a singles bronze medallist at Atlanta in 1996, said he would "have no other option but to withdraw from the Olympics" if the doubles selection was based on the refusal of the two players to partner with him. "We cannot be condoning or rewarding the drama enacted by Mahesh and Rohan," Paes wrote.
9) Bhupathi and Paes have not spoken since November. When asked why he did not want to partner with Paes, he said:Â "I'm not really interested in just playing the Olympics. I'm interested in doing you know as well as possible. Last four times we did play we didn't win. Hopefully this time a different combination can do something different."
10) Tennis association has also applied for a singles wildcard for Somdev Devvarman, who has been out of action since January due to a shoulder injury.