Bopanna, Bhupathi make choices clear

Selection will be a tricky issue with the two stating that they would only play together

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) selection meeting will face a tricky situation while choosing India’s entry for the Olympics with Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna writing to the federation to consider their pairing.

 Former Davis Cupper Jaideep Mukherjea,  SP Misra, Zeeshan  Ali, Rohit Rajpal and Balram Singh are the five selectors, who will be brainstorming over the final pairing in Bangalore on Friday.

 A source close to Bhupathi confirmed the two had written to AITA that they would like to be the partners in the London Games.

 At the June 11 cut-off rankings, Bhupathi was at 14th place and Bopanna 12th which ensured the two could earn a direct entry to the doubles if paired together. On the other hand Leander Paes, who qualified on the basis of his World No 7 ranking, will need a partner.

The rankings have given a new twist to the debate over the pairing and hope to Bhupathi and Bopanna, who joined hands at the beginning of the 2012 ATP World Tour season for the Olympics.

 “AITA should see that the two players (Bhupathi and Bopanna) let go their regular partners for the last seven months so that they can do their bit in bringing glory to the country. Bopanna parted ways with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, with whom he reached a Grand Slam final, to play with Bhupathi, and the two have fared well,” the source said.

Another contentious issue concerns the partner for Sania, who needs a wild card in either singles or doubles to play in the mixed doubles.

Paes was paired with Sania in the 2006 Doha Asian Games, where the two won the gold and again for the 2010 Commonwealth Games where they lost in the quarterfinals to eventual winners Jocelyn Rae and Colin Fleming from Scotland.

Sania and Bhupathi have won two Grand Slams together, the latest being the 2012 French Open. A peeved Bhupathi let out his fears in open in this year’s Australian Open when asked whether he and Sania will be seen together at the London Olympics.

"Funny enough, the politics of our association are so that we really don't know,” he was quoted as saying. “Sania and I won two years ago at the Australian Open and still for the Commonwealth Games, they did not put us together. As far as the Olympics go, it is anyone's guess who is going to play with Sania.”

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