Bopanna picks Myneni over Paes for Rio: Reports

Bopanna has qualified for the Olympics by virtue of his top 10 ATP ranking. The final decision lies with the selection committee. If the committee proceeds with Bopanna’s choice, then Paes will miss what will be his seventh Olympics.

Rohan Bopanna (left) has reportedly preferred Saketh Myneni as his partner for the Olympics.

Rohan Bopanna, the world No.10 doubles player, exercised his right to pick his partner for the Rio Olympics for men’s doubles and intimated his choice to the All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Friday.

The selection committee of the AITA will meet on Saturday at the RK Khanna Stadium and decide both the Olympic combination for men’s and women’s doubles apart from the Davis Cup team for the Asia Oceania group-I tie against Korea in Chandigarh.

‘’I am delighted and proud to have earned a direct acceptance to the men’s doubles by virtue of my top-10 ATP ranking on June 6. I look forward to representing India at my second Olympics and consider it a privilege, responsibility and honour’’, Bopanna was quoted in a release issued by his office.

Without divulging the name of his partner that he had proposed to the AITA, Bopanna defended his choice.

‘’A direct acceptance provides me the right to nominate my men’s doubles partner, an opportunity for me to exercise my judgement as to the best possible partner for me. I have communicated my decision to the AITA. I am looking forward to the support and good wishes of all concerned in the lead up to the Olympics’’, Bopanna said.

The media was agog with the news that Bopanna had nominated Saketh Myneni as his partner for the Olympics, even though the officials were unwilling to confirm or deny it.

Bopanna and Paes had a forgettable outing in the doubles rubber of the Davis Cup World group play-off against the Czech Republic in September last year.

A top-10 player does have the freedom to express his choice but it will be the national federation that will have the final say on the subject.

Leander Paes, ranked 46 in the world in doubles, is the only tennis player in the world to have competed in six straight Olympics. At 42, Paes has announced his readiness for the seventh Olympics by reaching the quarterfinals of men’s doubles in French Open and winning the mixed doubles title with Martina Hingis, with whom he completed a career Grand Slam.

Even if Bopanna had not reached the top-10, and thus won the right to nominate his partner, Paes reaching 46 would have ensured a direct entry for the Indian pair.

Sania Mirza has also intimated her choice for women’s doubles to the AITA. The entries for mixed doubles will be decided on the spot in Rio, with the best 12 teams getting direct acceptance, based on their singles and doubles ranking, whichever is better.

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