Who will partner Leander Paes in Asian Games?

Having missed all tennis after the successful Davis Cup campaign against China, Leander may not be in a position to press his choice.

(File photo) The last time he competed in the Asian Games in 2006 in Doha, Leander won the doubles gold with Mahesh Bhupathi and the mixed doubles gold with Sania Mirza.   -  R. Ragu

With three doubles specialists in the squad, the player with 18 Grand Slam titles, Leander Paes, has been projected as the odd man. Especially so, after Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan expressed their desire to be paired together.

With Ramkumar Ramanathan and Prajnesh Gunneswaran all set to focus on their singles, Leander may have to partner the Wimbledon junior doubles champion Sumit Nagal.

Two of the players,  who won doubles medals last time, Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni are not part of the team this time owing to various reasons.

Having missed all tennis after the successful Davis Cup campaign against China, in April - when he reached a doubles record for maximum wins in association with Rohan Bopanna - owing to personal reasons, Leander may not be in a position to press his choice.

Leander was part of the Asian Games team for the first time as a 16-year-old in Beijing in 1990. The last time he competed in the Asian Games in 2006 in Doha, he won the doubles gold with Mahesh Bhupathi and the mixed doubles gold with Sania Mirza.

In a rare case, he would be missing two Grand Slams - French Open and Wimbledon - for the first time in a season.

However, it is understood that the Executive Committee of the All India Tennis Association (AITA) would take a call on the doubles pairings for the Asian Games during its meeting on Saturday, which would be binding on the team, and overriding individual preference.

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