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Bopanna tells AITA he won't partner Paes at Olympics

Last updated on: June 18, 2012 16:27 IST

Bopanna tells AITA he won't partner Paes at Olympics

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The crisis that has rocked Indian tennis deepened on Monday, with Rohan Bopanna officially snubbing the All India Tennis Association's offer to pair with Leander Paes in the men's doubles at the London Olympics.

-Paes ready to play with Bhupathi at London Olympics

After Bhupathi's refusal to team up with Paes, Bopanna's stand has put the AITA in a fix following its controversial decision to nominate the long-feuding Paes-Bhupathi for next month's Games.



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'With all respect and humility, I have been unable to accept AITA's offer'

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Bopanna wrote to the AITA on Monday morning, making it clear that he cannot combine with Paes although it is his "dream to represent India in Olympics".

Bopanna said he was approached by the AITA with a request to pair with Paes as the AITA's 'second choice' team.

"With all respect and humility, I have been unable to accept AITA's offer and have communicated my decision to them in writing this morning," read a statement from Bopanna.

He said the very basis of his forming a team with Bhupathi was to play in the Olympics together and the tennis body not only knew about it, but encouraged them.




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'Paes and I as a team are under-prepared for the demands of the Olympics'

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The big-serving player, who is in demand from both Bhupathi and Paes for the London Games, also said that he and Paes do not make a good pair and their partnership is unlikely to yield any result.

"Since the beginning of the year, I have partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi towards playing together as at team at the Olympics. This was communicated to the AITA at every step and we were encouraged to continue to play together.

"Having played alongside Leander Paes only twice during my career, I recognise that as a team we are under-prepared for the demands of the Olympics and, in good faith, I could not accept AITA's offer that we play together."

Bopanna conceded that his decision will not go down well with many but he won't risk his professional integrity for a shot at the Olympics.




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'My professional integrity will not permit me to make this compromise'

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"I understand that many might find this decision difficult to comprehend. However, my professional integrity will not permit me to make this compromise. I owe this to the partners I have played with in the past, Mahesh Bhupathi who I currently play with and those I will partner in the future. I will still be able to look each of them in the eye," Bopanna said.

"I believe we are nothing but the product of our choices," he said.

Taking a dig a Paes, who broke his partnership with Bhupathi last year to stay inside the ATP top-10 with a different partner, Bopanna said he also could have taken an easy route by continuing his team with Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi but did not do that.

"In October 2011, I broke up an extremely successful partnership with Aisam Qureshi as I believed that Olympics preparedness required hard work and understanding between partners and the numerous little adjustments that make a team work.




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'This was the toughest professional decision I have taken'

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"This was the toughest professional decision I have taken, as it signified an end to a great partnership and jeopardised a close friendship that was built over many years of struggle and, ultimately, success on the ATP Tour.

"Having been ranked No. 8 in the world last year, I could have taken a far easier route to Olympics qualification -- if that was my only goal -- by continuing my existing partnership and aiming for a personal top-10 ranking.

"However, I am an athlete who believes that outcomes are a product of process and preparation. I also believe that successful partnerships of every sort require investment of time and emotions through the ups and downs, and that sporting partnerships are no different," he said.



Tags: ATP

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