Leander, Mahesh, Rohan or AITA: Who will take blame for the present mess in Indian tennis?

It has been more than a week and the Lee-Hesh impasse just does not seem to come to an immediate end. Right from the moment when All India Tennis Association (AITA) announced that Leander Paes will be teamed up with Mahesh Bhupathi for London Olympics, the controversies and war of words between the two camps have just been increasing with each passing day.

AITA’s decision seems to have lit up a never ending debate. Bhupathi has made clear that there is no way he will team with Paes and he even went to the extent of saying his partner a ‘backstabber’. And now with Rohan Bopanna too declining to partner Paes, Indian tennis as of now is in dire strait for sure.

So whose fault is it? Should the players, including Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna be blamed for the unceremonious controversy that has rocked Indian tennis or solely AITA be made responsible for the mess that Indian tennis is today?

AITA has complicated things and they have messed up what could have been a very simple decision. India did well to qualify with two teams and if we have the opportunity than why not send two teams. It will obviously improve India’s chances of winning a medal and most of all it will put hold to the stupid controversy that has surrounded Indian tennis.

Even Sports Ministry has now got involved in the matter and has asked AITA questions that all Indians are asking. Why not send two teams when we can? And why wasn’t Bopanna-Bhupathi informed earlier.

Bhupathi and Bopanna have been training from the past 8-9 months for Olympics and they have claimed that they had been in continuous talks with AITA about their preparations. In their mind it was very clear that AITA will send them together in one team and Paes in another team. It does make sense to send players who have been training together, rather teaming up the players who are not on talking terms.

Bhupathi-Paes record in Olympics is bad. Together they have competed four times and they have returned empty-handed on each occasion. When the camaraderie between the two players was good even then they were not able to create an impression in the biggest sporting event of them all. So now when they can’t stand each other, will they be able to do what the nations want from them? It is high time that India should try a new pair because Lee-Hesh has failed on all the previous four occasions. And that pair should have been Bhupathi-Bopanna.

Apart, India’s mixed doubles team will suffer if Bhupathi refuses to go to the Olympics. It looks like that AITA is only focusing on men’s doubles but they should give a thought about winning a medal in mixed double’s category. The French Open winning pair of Bhupathi and Sania Mirza might well be the best chance for the tennis team to win a medal. But all can go in vain if Bhupathi do not agree to pair with Paes. AITA has already made it clear that if Bhupathi does not agree to pair up with Paes, he will be dropped from the team. But that will hurt India dearly in the mixed doubles. India are lucky to have a pair as good as Bhupathi and Sania and they should not waste the opportunity.

All these problems can be solved by making a simple decision. Just send two teams and douse the fire emanating from this controversy once and for all.

By Indian Sports News Network