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Tennis

Rohan Bopanna to choose partner for Paris Olympics, AITA likely to approve

India's top doubles player, Rohan Bopanna, will choose either N Sriram Balaji or Yuki Bhambri as his partner for the Paris Olympics, with AITA likely to approve his selection.

Rohan Bopanna to choose partner for Paris Olympics, AITA likely to approve
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Rohan Bopanna became the oldest player to win a Grand Slam title in the Open Era. 

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 20 May 2024 12:02 PM GMT

India's top doubles player, Rohan Bopanna, will select either N Sriram Balaji or Yuki Bhambri as his partner for the upcoming Paris Olympics. The All India Tennis Association (AITA) is expected to approve his choice, even though the selection committee will discuss the combinations as per PTI.

Ranked fourth in the world, the 44-year-old Bopanna, being a top-10 player, has the privilege to pick his partner as per the rules. The men’s doubles draw at the Paris Games will feature 32 teams, with a maximum of two teams per nation. Qualification criteria allow top-10 players to choose partners who are ranked within the top 300 on the ATP and WTA ranking charts. The rankings as of June 10, following the French Open, will determine qualifications.

According to AITA sources, Bopanna has recommended the names of Balaji and Bhambri to the national federation for inclusion in the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) as his potential partners for the Paris Olympics.

Both Balaji and Bhambri have shown promising results on clay ahead of the Roland Garros, which will host the tennis events during the Summer Olympics from July 27. Balaji recently won the Cagliari Challenger event with German partner Andre Begemann and reached the semifinals at Francavilla al Mare in Italy. Bhambri won the ATP 250 event in Munich with French player Albano Olivetti in April and reached the semifinals of the Bordeaux Challenger earlier this month.

Indian tennis nominations for multi-sport events have often been controversial. In 2012, a major controversy arose when Mahesh Bhupathi and Bopanna refused to pair with Leander Paes, who ended up playing with Vishnu Vardhan. Sania Mirza was asked to pair with Paes in mixed doubles, leading to her public criticism of AITA.

In the 2018 Asian Games, Paes withdrew from the event just two days before it started, citing the lack of a specialist partner. AITA had nominated Bopanna and Divij Sharan, leaving Paes with no option but to pair with a singles player from the squad.

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