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Tennis

Rohan Bopanna picks N Sriram Balaji as his partner for Paris Olympics

Ace Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna has picked N Sriram Balaji as his partner for men's doubles contest at Paris Olympcis.

Rohan Bopanna picks N Sriram Balaji as his partner for Paris Olympics
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The Bridge Desk

Updated: 4 Jun 2024 12:05 PM GMT

Star tennis player Rohan Bopanna has picked N Sriram Balaji as his partner for the Paris Olympics and the All India Tennis Association (AITA) is unlikely to have any objection to the choice made by the veteran player.

Balaji, who impressed with his performance at the French Open, lost in the third round against the formidable combo of Bopanna and Australia's Matthew Ebden.

The 44-year-old Bopanna wrote to AITA and also marked TOPS in the mail, conveying his decision - a development confirmed by the national federation.

"I have sent an email to AITA," Bopanna told PTI from Paris, adding that he would comment on his choice only after hearing back from the national federation.

Yuki Bhambri, India's number two doubles player at number 52, was also in contention.

The 31-year-old Bhambri made a first-round exit from the French Open with French partner Albano Olivetti but has enjoyed success on clay this season, winning the ATP 250 tournament in Munich and ending runners-up at another ATP 250 event in Lyon with the same partner.

As reported by PTI, AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar said he does not have any objection to Bopanna playing with Balaji, ranked 84, at the Paris Olympics.

"Rohan has written to us that he wants to play with Balaji. Balaji is a good player. He played well in Pakistan also, rising to the occasion. He also did well on clay at the ongoing French Open. Balaji is a big server. If Rohan wants to play with him we have no objection to that," said Dhupar.

However, the final decision will be taken by the selection committee after ITF publishes the final list. The selection committee is headed by former Davis Cupper Nandan Bal along with Balram Singh, Mustafa Ghouse, and Sai Jailakshmi.

The ATP/WTA rankings on June 10 will be considered for entries. The ITF has to notify all Associations about their qualified athletes by June 12.

All NOCs will have to confirm their entries to the ITF by June 19. The ITF will reallocate the unused quota places on July 8.

Bopanna, only the third Indian to win a Grand Slam title, came close to winning a medal at the Rio Games but he and Sania Mirza had lost the mixed doubles bronze match to the Czech combination of Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka.

Given this is his last shot at an Olympic medal, both AITA and the Selection committee are expected to support Rohan Bopanna in his decision.

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