India’s chances of winning a medal in the London Olympics in tennis seem to be deteriorating with every passing day. With almost no hope of winning in the men’s singles category, all hopes were rested on the experienced duo of Leander Peas and Mahesh Bhupati to bring India glory in the men’s doubles category.
However, after playing together successfully for a few months last year they decided to break up their partnership. This dramatic break-up of India’s most successful tennis doubles team washed away India’s chances of any medal in London. But then Bhupati teamed up with Rohan Bopanna, a rising doubles star. Bopanna peaked with Pakistan tennis player Aisam Qureshi and the IndoPak Express stormed into the top 10 rankings with strong performances in 2010. Despite both Bopanna and Bhupati being strong players not much was expected of this pair. However, Bhupati’s experience and Bopanna’s big serves propelled the pair to decent success.
Elated with this success, the duo started training as a team for the London Olympics and even went to the point of asking the AITA to consider them only as a team and not as individuals for this major event. However, the AITA had different plans. The head association for Indian tennis not only declined the duo’s request but decided to break their team by asking Bopanna to team up with Leander Peas, India’s top ranked doubles player. This move by the AITA was questionable since Bopanna and Peas do not share a very cordial relationship and the fact that Bhupati and Bopanna, both ranked in the top 15 in doubles ranking, played well together during the last few months. Bopanna, however, refused to team up with Peas citing that their team’s lack of experience would make it difficult to tackle the challenges and produce a favorable result in the Olympics.