AITA paired Rohan Bopanna with Leander Paes for men’s doubles category for Rio 2016 Olympics. Bopanna was paired with Sania Mirza for the mixed-doubles category. While he didn’t comment on mixed-doubles pairing, Bopanna released a statement where explains why he wanted to partner Saketh, not Paes.
Based on my ranking, I had earned the privilege offered to the top 10 players in the world, to make a preferred nomination of doubles partner for the Men’s Doubles which I could forward to AITA for their endorsement. Following due process, I sent my nomination to AITA with an explanation of my reasoning. The relevant extract of my communication to the AITA is below:
“I have chosen Saketh based on a careful weighing of whose game will complement mine at Rio, given my own skills, strengths and weaknesses. As you will see from my track record, I have consistently had success with partners who have big weapons, a serve, a forehand. In that sense, the ranking of the player in doubles is far less important than what he brings to the partnership. I have played with over 70 partners in my career and that has given me the ability to gauge what type of player works well with me and what doesn’t.
I have much admiration for Leander Paes and his many achievements, but unfortunately we have not been able to put together a good combination despite our best efforts and I do not believe our styles of play are either compatible or complementary. Considering that this is a team event where two individuals need to gel together to do well, regardless of individual achievements, it is the team and the combination that matters.”
The AITA Selection Committee has now made its decision after due consideration of my representation and has selected the team for the Olympics. I respect this decision and look forward to participating in Rio.