Rohan Bopanna picks Saketh Myneni, not Leander Paes, as partner for Rio Olympics

Olympic bronze-medalist Leander Paes’ hopes of representing India at his seventh-consecutive Olympic Games may be over after Rohan Bopanna, India’s highest-ranked men’s doubles player, has reportedly asked Saketh Myneni to be his partner for the 2016 edition that is to take place in Rio de Janeiro.
Bopanna has written to All India Tennis Association (AITA) regarding his choice of men’s doubles partner, according to a report by CNN News18.
“Proud to have earned a direct acceptance to men’s doubles. I have earned the right to exercise my judgement on my partner for Rio Olympics. Look forward to AITA supporting me in the lead up to the Rio Games,” Bopanna’s letter to AITA was quoted in the report.
Bopanna has gained a direct acceptance for the Rio Games after being ranked world number 10 in doubles in the latest ATP rankings out on 6 June, which gives him the right to choose his own partner. India can field only one team in men’s doubles due to the absence of wildcards and lack of enough higher-ranked players.
AITA will have a selection meet on Saturday to pick the Olympic team.
However, AITA CEO Hironmoy Chatterjee was quoted by NDTV saying that the final decision lies with the selection committee “which may or may not honour Bopanna’s preference.”
Earlier, Sania Mirza, the world number one and India’s highest ranked women’s doubles player had said that she “conveyed” her decision to AITA about her preferred mixed doubles partner.
“I have already spoken to AITA and conveyed my decision on the Olympic issue. They have a meeting on the 11th (June) and let’s wait for that,” Sania told PTI.
It’s no secret that Sania and Rohan Bopanna are likely to pair in mixed doubles for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Back during the 2012 Olympics in London, Sania was forced to play with Leander Paes, when she wanted to play with Mahesh Bhupathi, after a similar impasse over India’s Olympic representation.
Paes, a top-10 player then, was not given the chance to pair with Bopanna, who preferred to team-up with Bhupathi and thus to appease him, Sania was forced to team up with Paes by the AITA.
Paes, on the other hand, maintains that he and Bopanna are India’s best chance of an Olympic medal. “We are playing at a very high level. My career speaks for itself and Rohan has also been doing well in last 18 months. We both are ready and without a shadow of doubt, me and Rohan are the best team,” said Paes, adding that he does not want a repeat of the London.