The All India Tennis Association (AITA) will announce India's team for the London Olympics today. According to sources, two teams are likely to be picked today. Somdev Devvarman's name is being discussed as a potential partner to Leander Paes. The Tennis Association has asked for a wildcard for Somdev.
Here's your 10-point cheatsheet to the latest developments:
1. It is likely that two teams will be sent to the London Olympics after Somdev Devvarman, who was out with injury all this while, made himself available for selection.
2. Leander Paes on Wednesday had threatened to pull out of the London Olympics if paired with a junior player while Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna form another team. In a strong letter to AITA, Paes wrote that he was not in favour of sending two teams to London.
3. The tennis association originally wanted Leander Paes to be paired with Mahesh Bhupathi. However, after his refusal they asked Rohan Bopanna to partner Paes but he also declined.
4. Bhupathi and Bopanna were in favour of AITA sending two teams as that would allow them to pair together. Both of them had written to the association, saying, "We have worked together on strengthening our partnership and have proved its benefits. As a result, we have maintained our position as one of the top Men's Doubles teams in the world." The pair won a Masters 500 title in Dubai, in February this year.
5. Paes, however, said in his letter to the Tennis Association, "We cannot be condoning or rewarding the drama enacted by Mahesh and Rohan. This would be a bad precedent."
6. The AITA then indicated that it would stick to its original decision of sending only one team and said that it is difficult to imagine a team without Leander. AITA was expected to announce its decision on Wednesday but postponed the announcement till Thursday, which is the last day to submit names for the Olympics.
7. Earlier, Sports Minister Ajay Maken had tried to intervene to sort out the tennis crisis, and asked the Tennis Association why it was adamant on sending just one team.
8. The tennis association wrote back saying that it would be meaningless to send Paes with a younger player who has not played a Grand Slam. "Leander being the best player must be paired with either Rohan Bopanna or Mahesh Bhupathi," the letter said.
9. Paes also wishes to partner Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles event. Paes' ranking as World No. 7 and Sania's as World No. 12 give them a combined rank of 19, which means they qualify directly but Mahesh, ranked 15, and she come at 27 and don't qualify directly.
10. In the mixed doubles, AITA wanted Sania to pair with Bhupathi as the duo has had success together and recently won the French Open title. They had also won the 2009 Australian Open. The AITA has asked for a singles and doubles wildcard for Sania.