The relationship between India’s star tennis players has hit a new low at the Olympic Village in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, says a report in Hindustan Times.
“When 18 Grand Slam winner Leander Paes reached the Village on Thursday afternoon he found that he had no place to sleep. The Indian tennis team has been allotted two three-bedroom apartments at the Village. While one accommodates the women — Sania Mirza, her doubles partner Prarthana Thombare and team manager Naseema Mirza all have individual rooms to themselves — the other apartment was left for the men. Paes, Rohan Bopanna, coach Zeeshan Ali and two male support staff were meant to share this. Mirza’s fitness trainer and Bopanna’s physio are sharing one room and Ali has another. It was learnt that one bed was removed from Bopanna’s room to make it a single occupancy,” says the report.
“When I reached the Village I found out that there was no room or bed for me in the two apartments allotted to the tennis team. After that I went to the chef de mission and he cleared out a room to accommodate me somewhere else,” Paes told HT.
Meanwhile, terming reports about his refusal to share room with his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna as "false" and said his timing of arrival at Rio was according to plans and known to the Indian tennis team.
According to a report on NDTV website, Paes, who will be playing in his seventh straight Olympics, a first in tennis said the timing of his arrival and stay at the Games Village was according to plans and known to the team.
"I am disappointed and feel sad by the baseless suggestions in a section of the media ... which accuse me of not informing the tennis team about my scheduled arrival in Rio," tweeted the 43-year-old Paes.
"There is also talk of me refusing to share a room with my doubles partner Rohan Bopanna, which is false and intended to unsettle our preparations for the competition. I am staying in the Games Village which was the plan all along.
"Hope this clarifies and puts an end to all fabricated stories and allows me and the rest of the Indian tennis contingent to concentrate on doing our best for the nation. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all my colleagues in the Indian contingent the very best for this Rio Olympics," said Paes who checked in at the Games Village on Thursday evening.
Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna will open against Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski of Poland in the first round. A report in The Hindu says that Paes had played both Roland Garros and Wimbledon this season with the 35-year-old Matkowski, making the quarterfinals in Paris and the second round at the AELTC.
Also, Matkowski, playing with Max Mirnyi of Belarus, had gone up against Lukasz Kubot at the recent Canadian Open in Toronto.