AITA: Rohan Bopanna, Sania Mirza slam Indian tennis body over lost medal chance, AITA respondsJuly 20, 2021
Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna have slammed the Indian tennis association (AITA) for denying the country “a very good shot at a medal” and for “misleading the players, the government, media and everyone else” by stating there is still a chance for Bopanna to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.
Bopanna said in a social media post on Monday that the International Tennis Federation (ITF) did not accept any entry request for him and Sumit Nagal, who qualified for the men’s singles event.
He said this was in contradiction to AITA pairing him with Nagal for the men’s doubles competition by withdrawing Divij Sharan’s nomination. Bopanna and Sharan were not able to directly secure a place for the men’s doubles event at Tokyo Olympics.
Sharing Bopanna’s post, Sania Mirza said this also means a genuine shot at a mixed doubles medal has also been let go of, indicating there were plans to field Bopanna and herself in the mixed doubles event if Bopanna had got a Tokyo ticket. Sania herself will be playing in the women’s doubles section along with Ankita Raina.
AITA: If you are so good, why are you depending on withdrawals?
AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar, meanwhile, hit back at Bopanna’s allegations, saying qualification for the Olympics should not have been left at the mercy of withdrawals.
“All formalities started on June 17 and we also wrote taking a chance that if Sumit being single’s player is also entitled to have a doubles partner. So that’s why we changed the nomination from Rohan-Divij to Rohan and Sumit for the Tokyo Olympics,” Dhupar was quoted as saying by ANI.
“All offices were closed on Saturday and Sunday, ITF is closed. I don’t know why he is saying all this. If you are so good why are you depending on people’s withdrawal? You are a world-class player you should enter the Olympics on your own, why are you depending on withdrawal.
“I don’t understand..and where is the problem from the federation. AITA has done its very best to ensure that Rohan and doubles players go to the Olympics so that we also get a chance to play mixed doubles. Entry into the Olympics is not in the hand of the federation. There is law and provisions for that,” he added.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) had paired Bopanna and Divij Sharan for the men’s doubles event but the team failed to make the cut because of its low combined rank of 113.
However, after Nagal made the cut for the men’s singles on July 16 following large-scale withdrawals, AITA saw hope in getting a men’s doubles team’s entry since singles players were being given the priority to fill the doubles draws.
The AITA announced that it has changed the combination by pairing Bopanna with Nagal.