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Sania Mirza joins Rohan Bopanna in slamming AITA over lost medal chance

Rio Olympics Mixed Doubles semi-finalist duo of Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna joined voices to call out AITA over Tokyo Olympics qualification chaos.

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna (Source:Twitter)


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 21 July 2021 6:16 AM GMT

The Indian tennis camp is no stranger to chaos and confusion and with 4 days remaining to go for the Tokyo Olympics, matters have once again gone worse. Recently, veteran Indian tennis player, Rohan Bopanna called out the All India Tennis Association (AITA) for falsely leading them into believing that a Tokyo berth for Men's Doubles and Mixed Doubles was possible.

Upon knowing this, Tokyo-bound 6-time Grand Slam champion, Sania Mirza expressed her frustration regarding this discovery.

In Rohan Bopanna's Twitter post, the Bangalore-resident blamed the AITA officials for not providing enough clarity, keeping false hopes alive and dragging it to the very eleventh hour.

Taking to Twitter as well, Sania Mirza who was a whisker away from claiming a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics when she partnered with Rohan Bopanna in the Mixed Doubles and reached the semi-finals, lamented the lost chance for a medal in Mixed Doubles at Tokyo 2020.

The 34-year-old Mirza, who is headed to her 4th Olympics and will play in the Women's Doubles event alongside Ankita Raina said, "Whaaattt???If this is true then it's absolutely ridiculous and shameful..by this it also means that we have sacrificed a very good shot at a medal in the mixed doubles if you and I would have played as planned. We were both told that you and sumit's names hav been given .."

Realistically, the Mirza-Bopanna pair could have had more success had Rohan Bopanna, now ranked World No. 40, made the Tokyo cut. However, it has been alleged by him that AITA did slipshod work that botched the chances of Bopanna to qualify and therefore, play alongside Mirza in the Mixed Doubles and go for the medal.

AITA lashes back at Rohan Bopanna

Rohan Bopanna (Source:AFP)

Not one to keep quiet and not counter such hefty allegations, the Secretary-General of AITA, Anil Dhupar lashed out at Rohan Bopanna and took a jibe at him by suggesting that one shouldn't have to wait for withdrawals to secure a berth for the Olympics, if they are so good.

Pleading a clean chit instead, Dhupar told ANI, "We have taken extraordinary efforts to ensure that our men's doubles entry are done unfortunately Divij and Rohan's entries were not accepted and were still on the waiting list, then all of sudden Sumit got an entry for singles. We got in touch with Sumit on whether to go or not to go. And by the time he confirmed we had already confirmed to ITF that he will be playing."

Further, Dhupar went on to defend the case of the AITA by saying, "All formalities started on June 17 and we also wrote taking a chance that if Sumit being single's player is also entitled to have a doubles partner. So that's why we changed the nomination from Rohan-Divij to Rohan and Sumit for the Tokyo Olympics. All offices were closed on Saturday and Sunday, ITF is closed. I don't know why he is saying all this. If you are so good why are you depending on people's withdrawal? You are a world-class player you should enter the Olympics on your own, why are you depending on withdrawal," Dhupar scathingly retorted, inviting the wrath of Sania Mirza, among others.

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