Indian tennis pair of Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna was pitted against the Polish team of Marcin Matkowski and Lukasz Kubot in the first round of the men’s doubles event of the Rio Olympic Games, starting on Saturday.
Ranked 55 in the world, legendary Paes will become the first tennis player in history to appear in seven Olympics when he will step on to the courts for his first round contest along with Bopanna.
Paes and Bopanna, ranked 15 in the world, have played only one match together this season in run up to the Games but Kubot (ranked 25) and Matkowski (ranked 27) have played many a matches in the first half of the season together.
Their best performance has been a runners-up finish at the Estoril Open in Portugal.
Paes and Bopanna combined to win the doubles-rubber in the recent Davis Cup tie against Korea in Chandigarh.
Paes, winner of 18 Grand Slam title, had won a singles bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games and it is his last chance to win another Olympic medal.
In the women’s doubles event, world number one Sania Mirza and Prarthana Thombare find Chinese pair of Peng Shuai and Shuai Zhang as their first round opponent.
Prarthna trains under Imran Mirza at Sania Mirza’s tennis academy on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The mixed doubles draw, where India will be a strong contender with Sania and Bopanna competing, has not been made