Zeenews Sports BureauNew Delhi: Putting to rest all the speculations regarding the tennis selection row, All India Tennis Association (AITA) has decided to send two men's doubles team to the London Olympics 2012.
Rookie Vishnu Vardhan will partner Leander Paes while Mahesh Bhupathi will play with Rohan Bopanna, All India Tennis Association President Anil Khanna.
Meanwhile, a ecstatic Vishnu Vardhan said he is looking forward to play in London. "It is a dream come true and I want to dedicate it to friends, coach and family."
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According to reports, Leander is yet to make any decision regarding his pairing with Vishnu for the Olympics. His father Dr Vece Paes has said that the formula might not be acceptable to Leander Paes as he is yet to be informed.
AITA pressed the need for a code of conduct for the players in the future, Anil Khanna maintained that Bhupathi and Bopanna won't face any disciplinary action.
"In the given circumstances, the best option is of sending two teams. Undoubtedly the most patriotic one, who has the record of most David Cup appearances for India and has served the nation for over 20 years, had been driven to the wall and had to react sharply," AITA President Anil Khanna said referring to Paes' threat of a pullout in case of being paired with a junior partner.
"AITA does not want Leander's image to be tarnished. AITA asks Leander to forgive the utterances (against him by Bhupathi and Bopanna)."
"Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan (ranked 207) and Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna will be the two teams. We request Leander to reverse to his thoughts and he should help Bopanna and Vishnu to succeed in their first Olympics," he added
"This decision is unfair to India No. 1 (Paes). AITA holds Leander in very high esteem. We are confident that Leander won't disappoint us as he has done yeoman's service to the game."
Meanwhile, for the mixed doubles, AITA decided to go ahead with Sania-Paes combination in case she gets a wildcard for the Olympics on June 28.
"Sania has already stated after the French Open that although she prefers to play with Mahesh, she would play with any partner in the Olympics," Khanna said.
"Leander and Sania are the only direct entry for the mixed doubles. If Sania gets a wild card, they will be only Indian pair at number 19 with their combined rankings," he added.
A relieved Bhupathi said that they will do everything possible to try and get Olympic medal.
"It has been an emotional 10 days for us. We will do everything possible to try and get that medal."
However, Bhupathi refused to comment on AITA's mixed doubles combination of Sania Mirza and Paes. "There are a lot of permutations and combination. But right now I am relieved that I am going to Olympics with Bopanna. We will speak on 29th when she gets a wildcard," he said.
AITA was expected to announce its decision on Wednesday but postponed the announcement till Thursday, which is the last day to submit names for the Olympics.
First Published: Thursday, June 21, 2012, 09:45
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