Solution to Indian tennis triangle for Olympics: Break it

Posted: June 22, 2012 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Indian tennis triangle can be a tricky issue to solve if you get emotional about the achievements and services of both Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.
It has become a pain for the All India Tennis Association and rightly so, because they have been the ones procrastinating over things, as reveals the letter from Rohan Bopanna, the third man to form the triangle.
Quite clearly the issue needs to be dealt with a strong hand now that it has been days into the row with no signs of anyone backing off.
An iron hand, which relies on facts, needs to be dealt. However when one is not sure or the dilemma is 50:50, the common approach is to test-fire a balloon, a la the West Wing series or the movie Extraordinary Measures.
Paes is world No 7, the highest-ranked, so whether Bhupathi likes it or not and even he is justified, his 11th position means rank has to be pulled. Bopanna is 14th and the weakest link.
Yet Bopanna says: “Since the beginning of the year, I have partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi towards playing together as a team at the Olympics. This was communicated to the AITA at every step and we were encouraged to continue to play together.
“Having played alongside Leander Paes only twice during my career, I recognise that as a team we are under-prepared for the demands of the Olympics and, in good faith, I could not accept AITA’s offer that we play together.”
Two things for Rohan. Yes, he prepared. But the two still came behind Paes. Sport is about who came first (Paes, for practical purposes in this three-legged race).
Secondly he said: ‘as a team (with Paes) we are under-prepared for the demands of Olympics’. He is still under-prepared either ways in the scheme of things based on his ranking. So if anyone has to go, it is him.
Again two ways to test fire the balloon:
1) AITA declares only one team to go and that means Paes-Bhupathi on ranking. Take it or leave it. Better not to send a team at all if it is not on their terms. Ultimately the players long-standing reputation and business-personal interests will take a hit if they refuse.
2) Announce the pairing of Paes and Bopanna. That leaves the call on Bhupathi. If he refuses, he still gets a consolation prize should he and Sania Mirza play in the mixed doubles. Besides Bopanna is a one-trick pony too, with a big serve as his only strong point. Like with Bhupathi, Paes at the net forms the foil nicely.
What do you think? Caste your vote now.

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Comments
  1. zipyourteeth says:

    Paes is being disgraced by the other two big-time. How could someone refuse to partner a player like paes. its a shame that bhupathi and bopanna are trying to put paes out of contention andhave their way

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  2. Kalyan Dasika says:

    Tennis is a different beast when it comes to sports where there are many parameters. Singles, Doubles, Mixed; Professional circuit (Grand slams and the likes), National pursuits like Davis cup, Olympics. If you look at these various events, the biggest money earning area is professional tournaments. When it comes to doubles, which is primarily a mental sport and then skill, you often see partners changing either because they don’t get along well, skill wise, or other personal issues. In the case of Mahesh and Leander, its primarily clash of personalities which is an open secret. If that is set aside, I think they have a dominant team as history has proved. There is a strong reason why Mahesh & Rohan dislike playing with Leander. Its not because of lack of skills, but I guess the pervasive personalities of all involved, I could be wrong here. If there is no chemistry between the partners, skill become secondary. They’ve lost the match even before the first point is served. If Leander truly believed that if he was paired with Mahesh for Olympics they have a winning combination, then just like how Rohan did last year, he should have taken the initiative and started playing with Mahesh in the professional circuit. Well, we don’t know if this was ever discussed or not. Assuming it wasn’t, the AITA, being one of the stake holders as far as Olympics are concerned, should have put their foot down and taken a larger leadership role. Now, it seems like more than the players, the AITA is in poor light for their lack of commanding ability. Now the Olympic plot is severely damaged. We has a nation have failed to put together a combination that would have brought more laurels.
    AITA, cannot control who plays in the professional circuit, but they certainly can come up with a contract system for future events where they spell out in clear terms on aspects like pairing.
    At the end of the Olympics, if we fail to win a medal, it will be a sad day and just shows how much we are ready as a nation to take up larger initiatives to be truly world class leaders.

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    • Kumar says:

      Kalyan. Rohan’s letter shows that AITA knew of their intentions and is to blame. But a decision needed to be taken. And the thinking also was that a player must not dictate terms else tomorrow a player might not be good enough but will ask for a specific pairing just because he may be hooked up with someone better mentally. By forcing Rohan to club with Paes it would have tested everyone’s willingness to keep their personal whims aside in national interest. Unfortunately they have gone ahead with Bhupathi and Bopanna. June 27 is by when something can change.

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