With the AITA contemplating over who would be the best choice for men’s doubles pairing, let’s look at why Rohan Bopanna and Leander Paes’s team could be the best chance for India at the Olympics?
Paes’s career speaks for itself, with 18 grand slam titles in his 25-year professional career, is coming off of a win at the French Open with Martina Hingis in mixed doubles. Bopanna being consistent in the past 18 months with four doubles titles in 2015 and a quarter-final finish off at the French Open in 2016, is also in great form.
“There is no shadow of doubt that Rohan [Bopanna] and me are the best pair to go to Rio and try and get that medal,” Paes has said.
Bopanna being a top 10 player can pick a partner of his choice at the Olympics. But there is no question that no one else would be able to live up to the pressures of Olympics as Paes. Paes, if chosen, would be participating in his seventh straight Olympics when the Rio Games kick off in August.
Also, their games compliment each other. Bopanna, with his bomb of a serve, and Paes' with his execution of returns at the net could be a good combination. This pairing could be a huge threat to other teams in the competition.
A senior AITA official said they are trying to ‘convince’ Bopanna to partner Paes, which would ensure a most fruitful team goes forward at the Olympics.
“We have given players the freedom to choose their partners. But they have to come up with a rational decision. If Rohan selects a partner who we believe isn’t good enough, then we will tell him to change. Right now, he and Leander are our best bets and we will try to convince him,” the official said.
Bopanna has been facing pressure about revealing his choice of partner for the Rio Olympcs. It is clear that this is a volley he won’t be able to dodge for very long.