An All India Tennis Association (AITA) source told PTI, “The ITF (International Tennis Federation) has confirmed that Bopanna and Divij cannot enter the men’s doubles as a team. However, things may change by July 16 (if more players leave).
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When contacted, AITA General Secretary Anil Dhupar said that he will be able to say something clearly only after the complete list is in hand. According to sources, the cut-off for 22 teams out of 24 direct entries is expected to be between 60 and 70, even if some players leave. However, the ranking of the final qualifiers is yet to be confirmed.
Even with more players dropping out, India’s chances of making the men’s doubles team are slim. Priority will be given to singles ranked players, followed by singles-doubles combinations and then doubles-doubles ranking combinations. Many top players are not part of the singles draw and lower-ranked players who consistently play doubles will not want to miss out on the opportunity to play two events at the Olympics.
Each player is allowed to participate in two events. As per the rules, only those players who have already qualified for the main draw (singles or doubles) can participate in mixed team events. If Bopanna is paired with Sania Mirza in women’s doubles, it is mandatory for her to make it to men’s doubles. Sania Mirza will participate in the Olympics for the fourth time. She is teaming up with Ankita Raina in women’s doubles.
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Sania and Bopanna came close to winning the bronze medal in 2016 but lost in straight sets to the Czech pair of Radek Stepanek and Lucie Haradekar in the bronze medal play-off match. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, fewer tournaments have been organized, so Indian players have not had much opportunity to improve their rankings. At the start of the year, Bopanna was ranked 38th and Divij 63rd.
India’s men’s doubles pair has been part of the Olympics every time since Leander Paes and Ramesh Krishnan participated in the 1992 Games in Barcelona. After that Pace played with Mahesh Bhupathi for a long time. Paes and Bopanna entered the 2016 Rio Olympics, but the pair lost in the first round. undefined
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Tag: Divij Sharan, ITF, Rohan Bopanna, Tokyo Olympics
First Published: June 30, 2021, 15:18 IST