Rohan Bopanna in the mixed doubles final at the 2018 Australian Open at Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia
Rohan Bopanna, India’s top-ranked doubles player, has accused the All India Tennis Association (AITA) of misleading the players and others with regards to India’s chances of qualifying for the men’s doubles event at the Tokyo Olympics.
In a tweet posted on Monday, Bopanna provided some clarification on the messy Olympic qualification process. The former World No. 3 stated that the International Tennis Federation (ITF) had not accepted the revised entry for Bopanna and Sumit Nagal for the Tokyo Games, which kick off later this week in Japan.
The AITA had originally named the pairing of Bopanna and Divij Sharan as India’s entry for the men’s doubles event. However, with the Indians not getting a direct entry into the Olympic draw, and Sumit Nagal getting into the men’s singles event in Tokyo, the AITA announced on Friday that they had sent a revised entry of Bopanna and Nagal. This was on account of singles players on-site being given a preference while considering entries into the doubles draw.
Even as uncertainty and speculation around the direct entry list and alternate list grew, Bopanna’s tweet on Monday added another twist to the tale.
“The ITF rules are very complicated” – Rohan Bopanna
Rohan Bopanna at the Singapore Tennis Open at the OCBC Arena on February 20, 2021 in Singapore
This is not the first time that the AITA and Indian tennis players have found themselves in the midst of an unpleasant situation. Indian tennis fans will remember the fiasco around the team nomination and selection ahead of the 2012 London Games.
In a recent interview with Sportskeeda, Bopanna had opined that the ITF rules for the qualification of doubles teams in Tokyo did not make much sense to him.
“The ITF (International Tennis Federation) rules are very complicated. They clearly make no sense because doubles and singles are two different disciplines. You can’t have the same criteria for both because there are a lot of players across the world who try and qualify and get their rankings high enough to represent the country,” Bopanna stated.”The ITF deciding that the singles ranking is a priority for a doubles event really does not make sense to me. At the end of the day, you cannot have guys whose combined ranking is below you and then still get priority to play ahead of you,” Bopanna continued.