The national tennis federation on Friday chose to go with the veteran combo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi for the London Olympics, despite Bhupathi refusing point blank to partner Paes in the July event.
“Olympic losses (with Paes) have been the worst times in my career. I have no interest in repeating the same with no preparation and zero chemistry,” Bhupathi told HT.
Paes and Bhupathi have failed to win a medal in four previous Olympics outings.
Bhupathi wanted Rohan Bopanna to partner him this time. “We have played and practised together for the last six months to prepare for the Olympics. We, together, are the best team to represent India.”
The selectors had the option of allowing the two to play together and pairing Paes with a youngster. But they later backed off from fielding two teams. Paes had agreed to play with a novice but his preferred choice was Bopanna.
“We will not speculate as to how the players will react. If, for any reason, they decline to play, they will face disciplinary action,” said All India Tennis Federation chief Anil Khanna.
The federation, which hopes Bhupathi will reconsider his decision, has time till June 21 to make any changes to the names being sent to represent India.