External affairs minister SM Krishna and sports minister Ajay Maken on Friday appealed to the bickering tennis players to shed "individual egos" and instead play for the country in London Olympics.
"It is not the job of the Ministry, we do not participate in the selection process. Things like these should have been worked out long back," Maken told reporters here when asked about the continuing drama that is still playing out despite the All India Tennis Assoiation's decision to send two men's doubles team.
"We can only appeal to the players through media and and we have done that. This is the 'Lakshman rekha' and let us not cross that. Let us not disturb the sanctity of this 'Lakshman rekha'," he added.
External affairs minister SM Krishna appealed to the bickering Indian tennis players to shed "individual egos" and instead play to bring laurels for the country in London Olympics.
"We have to see that a good team goes to London to represent the country. Winning medal should be the sole objective," Krishna told reporters, here today.
"Everybody should rise to the occasion and forego individual egos and prejudices," he added.
Krishna, who is also AITA Honorary President, had to intervene in the bitter tennis selection row after Mahesh Bhupathi refused to play with Leander Paes and asked the AITA to pair him up with Rohan Bopanna.
The AITA worked out a compromise formula by deciding to send two teams with the highest-ranked Paes teaming up with world number 207 Vishnu Vardhan while pairing Bhupathi and Bopanna as had been demanded by them.
Krishna appealed to the players and officials to work towards the Indian tennis team winning medal in the Games.
"I have not spoken to anybody but as an avid tennis lover and enthusiasts, I appealed to all those concerned that we should send the best players and they should come back with laurels for the country," he said.
Despite a compromise formula -- under which Leander Paes has been paired with a much-lower ranked Vishnu Vardhan and Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna have been allowed to team up for the big event -- the furore seems far from settled.
Paes is apparently unhappy at being paired with a lower-ranked Vishnu and has threatened to pull out. AITA has sent one of its selectors to London to try and pacify him.
Asked if he would also chip in to douse the controversy, Maken said, "I don't think it is proper for the ministry to cross this Lakshman rekha.
"As per the laid down norms of the IOC, the federation decides if at all any other organisation can come in. The ministry cannot interfere and the ministry never interferes. It will set a bad precedent. I wish them all the best. I appeal to the players that they think about national interest first," he added.