AITA comes out with meek reply

AITA comes out with meek reply

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) on Wednesday said they picked the mixed doubles team for London Olympics ''purely on merit'' and requested the players to shed their differences in the interest for the country.

The tennis row over the men's doubles pairing had barely dies down when Sania Mirza lashed out at the AITA for using her as a "bait" to pacify a miffed Leander Paes. Paes was asked to partner a lowly-ranked Vishnu Vardhan but was promised a pairing with Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles.

"As regards selection of teams, the selection committee on 21st June, the last date for nomination, noted that Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna had made themselves not available for selection with Leander Paes despite efforts of AITA. The committee then selected Leander Paes with Vishnu Vardhan as his doubles partner as Vishnu was the preferred partner and also the silver medalist in the Asian Games,” AITA secretary-general Bharat Oza said in a statement.

“The committee also decided that wild card application be made for Somdev Devvarman and for Sania Mirza for women’s singles as well as women’s doubles as without a wild card she will not be eligible to play mixed doubles.

“The committee, thereafter, selected world No. 7 and India No. 1 Leander Paes to partner world No. 12 and India No. 1 Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles Olympics event. With a combined ranking of 19 they were placed 9th in the top 12 teams to be eligible for mixed doubles. This selection is purely on merits,” he said.

The AITA also praised Sania for her accomplishments and clarified that they had wished her on the French Open victory with Mahesh Bhupathi.

"Sania Mirza is a great Indian player like Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. These three players have brought great laurels to the country by winning grand slam events. AITA had duly congratulated Sania’s mother on her victory in the French Open,” the statement said.

“AITA respects all its players and is fully aware of the accomplishments of Sania Mirza as an excellent tennis player. AITA believes that Leander and Sania together are capable of producing fantastic results in the Olympics.

"We earnestly appeal to all the players to unite together, shed their differences, stop going public and play in the best national interest.”

A seven member tennis contingent will represent India in Olympics for the first time.

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