The turn of events over the past week has been distasteful and certainly not the best prelude for a good showing from the teams.
It was really unfortunate how Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna made a pact to publicly humiliate Leander Paes and also uttered some derogatory remarks for the legendary player who has served the country for over 20 years.
Some differences can surface between the players but a detailed conversation can sought it out all specially when the matter concerns nation’s pride.
Before bringing it out before the media, the players should have at least given one try to resolve the issues internally.
Bhupathi and Bopanna sadly do not understand that when they would represent the nation in the world’s biggest sporting event they would be addressed as Indian players first and their individual names would come later.
Bhupathi very arrogantly turned down the AITA’s request to reconsider his decision stating that he has been practicing with Bopanna for the Olympics and share high comfort level with him
Many have supported Bhupathi’s stand saying that understanding and admiration between the players is important to do well as a team.
But why did his supporters and the player himself forgot that together as a team Bhupathi and Paes have done so well in several tournaments and the chemistry, understanding can be revived if they talk it out and set aside all the differences.
AITA now has announced two teams to be sent for the mega event, one comprising Bhupathi and Boppana and as a second team Mahesh Bhupathi will partner Vishnu Vardhan.
For the mixed doubles, Paes has been paired with Sania Mirza.
The tennis association admitted that the two-team selection may not be fair to Paes but asked him to accept the decision as it has been taken in national interest.
Backing Paes and calling him most patriotic player, AITA said it could not see an Olympic Indian team without the name of Paes.
Making it clear that AITA was not happy with the conduct of Bhupathi and Bopanna, the association’s chief Anil Khanna requested Paes to forgive the unpleasant remarks made by Bhupathi and Bopanna.
The tennis association has verbally condemned Bhupathi and Bopanna’s behaviour during the selection process, but avoided taking any disciplinary action against the two at this point of time saying this would not be in interest of the nation.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) is right in saying that no player should be allowed to have a veto power in team selection.
But, it is obviously not sufficient on AITA’s part to just criticise the behaviour of the two players, disciplinary action against them was demand of the moment which the association comfortably avoided.
By entertaining the players’ threats and giving into their demands, AITA has set bad precedent for other federations.
This could encourage other athletes to dictate terms on the sports federations which will be certainly bad for Indian scenario.