Ahead of Tokyo Olympics, the Indian Tennis Association (AITA) seems to be surrounded by a massive selection controversy started due to allegations from the star Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna.
In a tweet, Bopanna can be seen slamming the India Tennis Association for misleading him and the entire nation over his qualification in the Tokyo Olympics.
He launched a direct attack on International Tennis Federation (ITF) for not accepting him and SumitNagal for men’s singles. Later, Sania Mirza too came in his support.
Rohan Bopanna could not make up for the qualifiers cut for the Tokyo Olympics with his doubles partner Divij Sharan due to a low rank of 113.
Due to a large-scale withdrawal before the Olympics, SumitNagal, another Indian tennis player, qualified for the Olympics on July 16.
AITA thought of making the doubles’ team of Sumit and Bopanna which could have helped them both to make it to the Olympics.
This could also be possiblesince singles’ players are given priority to fill double draws.
Bopanna claims that a team of him and Nagal would have been possible if ITF has accepted their entry and AITA would have worked properly.
Then, India would even have a shot at mixed doubles.
But currently, India has no access to mixed doubles since players already a part of singles or doubles could draw for mixed and Nagal, and Sania Mirza scores are not enough for the cut.
Bopanna expressed his disappointment over ITF rules and slammed the tennis governing body in the tweet.
“ITF has never accpepted an entry for Sumit Nagal and myself .
ITF was clear that no changes were allowed after the nominations deadline unless injury/illness.
AITA has mislead the players , government, media and everyone else by stating we still have a chance”, he said in the tweet.
He daily visited the ATP office during the Wimbledon campaign to clarify the issue, but nothing helped.
India’s tennis icon, Sania Mirza, came in support of her fellow player and expressed her disbelief.
Sania Mirza tweet said, “If this is true, then it’s ridiculous and shameful.
She also highlighted how India missed its chance to win a medal in Tokyo as she and Bopanna had plans to pair up together.
Sania also shared that AITA had already informed them that Bopanna and Sumit’s names were given.
As the matters were getting serious and a series of criticism by Mahesh Bhupati and other former players regarding AITA workings started to take over media, AITA responded.
AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar issued a statement hitting Rohan and questioning him for blaming the association.
Dhupar questioned Bopanna, “If you are so good why are you depending on people’s withdrawal? You are a world class player, you should enter the Olympics on your own.”
He added the side of AITA, stating, “AITA has done it’s very best to ensure Rohan and doubles players to go to the Olympics, so that we also get a chance to play mixed doubles.”
AITF referring to Sania Mirza’s statement were very disappointed and said, “Sania Mirza’s tweet is also baseless and coming from a player of her stature is condemnable.”
They explained that the association has no control over entry to the Olympics, and it could do nothing due to the timing and ITF rules.
While AITA is claiming that they could not do anything because it was too late, Bopanna is claiming the federation for misleading him.
Bopanna, as evidence for his claims, shared an audio conversation. The conversation showed it to be from a contact saved as Dhupar.
If one listens to the end of the chat, it is audible that Dhupar informed Bopanna that they were selected for the Olympics.
This isn’t the first time the tennis federation and players have chosen not to stay on the same page.
The players have often raisedquestions about the selection process and criticized how they were made to pair up with players other than their choices.
Sania Mirza, representing India for the fourth time in the Olympics, had to face a similar situation twice earlier.
Bopanna and Leander Paes had to partner despite the player choosing someone else as their priority in the 2016 Olympics.
And this new allegation raised by Bopanna seems to be an addition to the federation’s long list of controversies.