In one of the Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes strips, Calvin says, “You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood” — the right mood being “last-minute panic”. This seems to be the mantra of the All India Tennis Association (AITA), which waited till the eleventh hour to announce a team for the doubles for the London Olympics, the deadline for which is June 21.
No sooner did it announce the names, Mahesh Bhupathi refused to partner Leander Paes and so did Rohan Bopanna. Before we could get a hang of what’s going on in the tennis circuit, sports minister Ajay Maken served an off the court ace, tweeting that India should send two teams.
It seems that the AITA has an uncanny knack of being a good sport when it comes to leaving people red in the face. First, it overlooked the bad blood between the two feuding tennis veterans and announced the team. This does not seem like serving an ace with Bhupathi calling Paes a “back-stabber”.
To counter that the AITA delivers a bit of patriotism. It is not quite love all. Putting two and two together, the AITA has stood by its decision to pair Paes with Bhupathi, insisting that teaming the former with a junior player would be “most inappropriate”. The controversy seems far from over with this announcement. But then who’s complaining? We loved this controversy especially when it took our time off cricket and the Indian Premier League.
With just a day left for the nomination, our advice to the Olympics team is that the best way to play a doubles match is the Mamatadi way. Despite differences, she has stood by the UPA government through thick and thin.
The UPA was thick-skinned and Banerjee’s arguments thin. Game, set and match — but we are not sure to whom.