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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Tennis

Simmer time in Indian tennis mess
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 23, 2012
First Published: 23:21 IST(23/6/2012)
Last Updated: 23:24 IST(23/6/2012)
Tennis selector on a peace mission to London

Leander Paes has shifted his focus to preparing for Wimbledon, beginning in London on Monday, and seems to have put the Olympics pairing issue on the backburner as of now.

Those close to the 39-year-old know that it's best to leave him alone when he is angry. For, Paes does have an amazing ability to mull over stuff and then bury the unpleasantness.

That is, unless he reaches the conclusion that he has been really wronged.

Tennis federation selector Rohit Rajpal knows Paes well enough, having practiced with him for years as fellow trainees at the erstwhile Amritraj academy in Chennai.

Rajpal, who reached London late Friday night, has not made any blatant overtures to meet the player. On Friday, he did not even try to call him, forget trying to meet.

Prudent measure
The strategy, it appears, is to let Paes cool down. Rajpal has left it to Paes to come around to a meeting instead of forcing one.

This is a prudent measure. For, there is no point in antagonising the man who, anyway, does not respond well to incessant prodding.

Rajpal, it has been learnt, is in turn being pushed by the federation to rush Paes into agreeing to its compromise formula. However, Rajpal's prudence will be welcomed by the player who does not need additional stress going into Wimbledon. Anyway, hours of conversation with federation president Anil Khanna have not yielded any positive outcome till now.

The federation is also fearful of Sania Mirza's reaction in case the mixed doubles wildcard does come through.

Storm brewing
There is a storm brewing on that front as the player was not consulted before she was announced as Paes' partner. Rajpal will have his work cut out to convince her to stay silent on this issue, and, for that matter, to get her to acquiesce to partner Paes without any fuss.

What can make things more complicated is the fact that if the Bhupathi-Mirza combo works out at Wimbledon and has a good showing, their case for pairing in the Olympics will get all the stronger.

The one positive that pops up after sieving through this mess is that all four players - including the Mahesh Bhupathi-Rohan Bopanna combo - will be looking to prove a point at the Grand Slam. Who knows, India may well have its best showing ever at The Championships.


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