When the Asian Games comes around in Hangzhou, China, in September, do not be surprised if Rohan Bopanna partners Yuki Bhambri for the doubles in the tennis competition.
The world No. 7 Bopanna, fresh from his semifinal appearance in Wimbledon, was categorical that him partnering Yuki would be the best combination, as India would be looking to win two medals in doubles.
The general impression created was that Bopanna would partner Ramkumar Ramanathan, with whom he had won two ATP doubles titles. Yuki and Saketh Myneni play as a pair regularly in the professional circuit with considerable success.
Bopanna said that it was unfair that he did not get a chance to choose his partner from among a bunch of players with good rank, which indicated their form and fitness apart from success on the pro tour.
“It was not right that so many players ranked better than Ramkumar were not even asked for their availability. I enquired if I could play with Arjun Kadhe who did not have a regular partner among Indians, but I was told that his name was not sent earlier in the long list”, said Bopanna.
“If a player is not available, it is understandable. But if you are not even considered for selection, it defeats the purpose”, said Bopanna.
The claims of Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Sriram Balaji, Anirudh Chandrasekar, Arjun Kadhe, Vijay Sundar Prashanth, Purav Raja, and Divij Sharan ranked better, were ignored.
For the Olympics, a top-10 doubles player gets the right to choose his doubles partner.
“Why can’t that rule apply for the Asian Games”, queried Bopanna.
At a time when Indian doubles has stepped up on the international arena, not having a fair selection has not only upset the deserving players, but has also hurt the chances of two doubles medals.
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