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Paes to partner Sania Mirza in mixed doubles, assures AITA

All India Tennis Association on Thursday assured that only Leander Paes will be paired with Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles in Olympics. It is yet to be confirmed whether he will play in men's doubles or not . 'Tennis row an insult to Paes'

india Updated: Jul 09, 2012 11:55 IST
All India Tennis Association,AITA,Leander Paes

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Thursday assured that only Leander Paes will be paired with Sania Mirza for the mixed doubles competition in London Olympics, even as the row over his men's doubles partner for the coveted event rages on.

The announcement came after Paes demanded an assurance that only he will be paired with Mirza for mixed doubles.

AITA is yet to confirm whether Paes will play in men's doubles.

"We can't force players to play, for now Leander Paes will only play the mixed doubles," Anil Khanna, AITA President, said.

Earlier, television reports suggested that Paes might opt out of the Olympics as he was unhappy with the AITA's decision.

In its bid to resolve the selection crisis for the Olympics, the AITA today decided to send two men's doubles teams, pairing world number seven Paes with world number 207 Vardhan while Mahesh Bhupathi will team up with Rohan Bopanna.

Paes' father and Olympian Vece Paes said that Leander had the right to choose his own partner.

He termed AITA's decision unfair and said that Paes might not agree to the men's doubles team selection for the Olympics.

"Leander has always compromised while playing for the country. I think now he is tired of doing that. I don't think Leander will agree with AITA's decision," said Vece Paes in Kolkata on Thursday.

Paes and Bhupathi formed a long-standing and highly successful doubles pair for years, winning Grand Slam doubles titles at the French Open in 1999 and 2001, and Wimbledon in 1999.

The duo, who have represented India in the doubles at four Olympics, broke up as a full-time pair in 2002, but continued to team up for India in the Davis Cup and multi-sports events such as the Olympics.

Bhupathi and Bopanna started playing together at the start of the year and will now be India's second pair at London 2012.

First Published: Jun 21, 2012 18:43 IST