As the governing body of Indian tennis prepared to send two doubles teams to the London,Leander Paes was learnt to have taken the line today that he would partner a lower-ranked player only if Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna who have refused to play with him were left out of the Olympics squad.
We cannot be condoning or rewarding the drama enacted by Mahesh and Rohan, Paes told The Indian Express.
Leander floated his threat after the All India Tennis Association (AITA) hinted at reversing its original decision to send only one doubles team Bhupathi and Paes for next months Games. After lengthy rounds of negotiations with the three players,the AITA selection committee on Wednesday appeared to have decided to field two teams: Bhupathi-Bopanna and Paes with either Vishnu Vardhan or Yuki Bhambhri.
A press conference was scheduled for the evening however,Paes expressed his reservations.
I was always willing to put my differences aside and play along with Mahesh and Rohan but at no point of time by merit of my No. 1 rank should I be made to succumb to play with a player ranked around 300. This would set a wrong precedent, Paes said.
He clarified that he wasnt as such against partnering a fourth choice player (Vishnu/Yuki) however,he could not do so when the second (Bopanna) and third (Bhupathi) ranked players too were traveling to London as a pair.