Rohan Bopanna picks Saketh Myneni as his partner for Rio Olympics, AITA keen on Paes-Bopanna pairing

Rohan Bopanna, India's top ranked men's doubles player with a world ranking of No. 10, has reportedly picked Saketh Myneni (No. 125) as his partner for the Rio Olympics, says a report in The Times Of India, adding while that veteran Leander Paes (No. 46) is ranked higher than Myneni, and is the only Indian to win an Olympic medal (bronze in the 1996 Atlanta Games), it's no secret that Bopanna and he don't exactly share a high comfort level.

“As for mixed doubles, world No. 1 Sania Mirza is rumoured to have conveyed to the All India Tennis Association that she would prefer Bopanna as her partner, even though Paes has won four mixed pair titles from six majors in the past 18 months. While rankings, skill sets and a milestone (a record seventh Olympics for Paes) will come up for consideration when the national selection committee meets in New Delhi on Saturday, the intangible threads that bind a pairing would also come into the picture,” says the TOI report.

According to a report in The Indian Express, Bopanna achieved the top-10 doubles ranking earlier this week, which gave him automatic qualification for the Games. According to International Tennis Federation (ITF) guidelines, Bopanna was eligible to select a partner of his choice. In a statement shared with the media today, he didn’t mention any name but asserted his right to pick his partner. However, AITA officials, on condition of anonymity said that the 36-year-old had opted for Saketh Myneni, ranked 126 in doubles, instead of World No.49 Paes.

Bopanna’s letter said: “A Direct Acceptance provides me the right to nominate my men’s doubles partner, an opportunity for me to exercise my judgement as to the best possible partner for me. I have, earlier today, communicated my decision to the AITA. I am looking forward to the support and good wishes of all concerned in the lead up to the Olympics.”