'Will convince Bhupathi or Bopanna to play with Paes'

mahesh bhupathiNew Delhi: All India Tennis Association (AITA) president Anil Khanna said on Tuesday that sending one team for the 2012 London Olympics is the best option to win a medal and it would again try to convince Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna to patch-up with Leander Paes for the Games.

"Today we have underlined five possible options to the sports ministry and they completely agree with us. Asking Leander to pair up with World No.207 or 306 is meaningless. For India the best medal option is just one pair and not two just sending two teams for fillers," said Khanna after a meeting with sports ministry.

"Leander and Mahesh are India's best medal hopes. But if Mahesh refuses to pair with Leander then we will ask Rohan Bopanna. We will try to convince both Mahesh and Bopanna to again team up with Leander," he said.

The AITA top-brass, including Khanna and secretary general Bharat Oza, met at the R.K. Khanna Tennis Complex for over an hour in drafting the reply to the sports ministry. They then rushed to meet sports ministry Ajay Maken.

Maken, who on Monday asked AITA to submit an explanation by Tuesday afternoon, said the AITA had to take the final call in the selection process.

"The sports ministry doesn't wish to be a part of the selection process. We had raised certain issues because of request from certain iconic players. The sports ministry leaves it to the AITA to exercise any of the options in the best of national interest," said Maken.

"Ultimately the best team has to play for India looking at the best of national interest. Sports ministry will try to talk to the players again but will not interfere in AITA's decision," he said. (IANS)