Is Leander Paes´ Dream of a Seventh Olympic Games under Danger?- View: 2119 by Prakash
Tennis - Leander Paes may be India's second highest ranked doubles player but he may not be able to play in his seventh Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio if Rohan Bopanna does not pick him as his doubles partner.
With the French Open coming down to the wire in Paris, Bopanna's quarter-final finish in Paris will see him move back into the Top 10 of the world doubles rankings next week. That means that he has the right to choose his doubles partner for Rio.
As per Olympic rules for doubles, all Top 10 players qualify for the Olympics directly and would be able to choose their partner. Had Bopanna been ranked outside the Top 10, then he would need to partner with Paes in order to make the cut-off for the Games.
What further complicates matters is that Paes, who has just won the French Open mixed doubles title, needs to qualify for the men's singles or doubles event in order to be eligible for the mixed doubles. Both Paes and Bopanna would be hoping to partner the current World No.
1 Sania Mirza in the mixed and while Paes may seem the logical choice having won four of past six Grand Slams with Hingis, if Bopanna does not pick him as his partner, then Paes may not be eligible for the mixed doubles either.
In an interview to the Indian Express a few days ago, Bopanna commented, “If I’m in the Top 10, then I can pick my partner.
It’s been just a day since I finished (at the French Open). So I haven’t given it a thought yet. I’m just waiting to see where I stand, if it’s in the top 10 or not. Then it’ll be easier for me to make that decision.
It’s just a matter of a few days.” There are no other Indians ranked inside the doubles Top 100 but four ranked between the 101-200 category, including Mahesh Bhupathi, currently ranked 166th, who could be a preferred partner for Bopanna given their close friendship off the court.
Bhupathi has posted a 11-8 record on the tour this season and his decision to get back to the tour in January after a six month break may have something to do with the Olympics in sight. With Bopanna making the Top 10, the cards seem stacked against Paes, who has spoken out loud about his dream to play a seventh Olympic Games in Rio.
Which way the cards fall will now become clearer in the coming days. Also Read: Paes Moves Closer to Another Milestone in Doubles .