Now Sahara boss Subrata Roy says Paes a victim of backroom politicking, appeals PM to intervene

As if the Indian tennis drama had seen enough, the row took a new turn on Saturday with Sahara group chairman Subrata Roy lashing out at the All-India Tennis Association (AITA) decision to “placate Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna” by sending two teams for the London Games, says a report in The Times Of India.

Roy launched a scathing attack on AITA by suggesting backroom politicking had resulted in the AITA pairing Paes, a direct entrant for the Olympics by virtue of his No. 7 doubles ranking, with rookie Vishu Vardhan. “He (Paes) has been sacrificed at the altar of egos, dirty politicking and unnecessary political intervention,” Roy said, “He is one of India’s most revered sportspersons. He broke the jinx in 1996 of India not winning an Olympic medal for 16 years.”

Roy even appealed to the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter and find out why AITA reversed its decision, Roy said, “Indian tennis may have treated him (Paes) badly but the nation will not. I appeal to our Prime Minister to do justice for the country and Leander Paes.”

Meanwhile a news report in The Hindu says silence may signify acceptance; perhaps not any more, adding that the continued silence of Leander Paes following the announcement of two men’s doubles teams for the Olympics in London, much against his wish, has been viewed with mixed emotions.
“There was no doubt that Paes was upset with the turn of events recently. It may be recalled that the AITA had announced one team of Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi for the Games after the selection committee meeting in Bangalore on June 15. However, after the refusal of Bhupathi, and later Rohan Bopanna, to partner Paes, the AITA took the guidance of its Life president, S.M. Krishna, Minister for External Affairs, in changing the original choice and declaring two teams,” says the report adding that Bhupathi and Bopanna were paired as a team based on their argument that they had prepared together for the Games through the season for the last six months, and had risen to No.7 in the world and No.3 as a national combination. Paes was paired with Vishnu Vardhan, who had won the mixed doubles silver medal with Sania Mirza in the Asian Games in Guangzhou.

Meanwhile a report in TOI says that Leander Paes may be stuck on the horns of a dilemma, but he is in no hurry to take inarguably the most important decision of his 23-year tennis career.

“Am trying to chill out after a couple of bad days… I’ve started training for Wimbledon with Radek (Stepanek), am going to the gym, doing all the hard work so that I can create magic on the court once more. Don’t want anything to distract my goal of winning a couple of more Grand Slams with Radek and Elena (Vesnina),” Paes told TOI from London on Saturday.

“The moment I’m convinced about what I should do, I’ll announce my decision,” was all that the 39-year-old would say on an issue the entire country is curious about.