Bengaluru: Unlike many from other countries, for years, Indian tennis players have put their best foot forward when it comes to multidiscipline quadrennial events like the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. But the scenario has definitely changed with most of the men on the circuit going through a rough patch while Sania Mirza is soaring high in her doubles career.
With the cream of Indian tennis Leander Paes, Sania, Rohan Bopanna and Somdev Devvaram are reluctant to give up points on the Tour this season, the All India Tennis Association (AITA), which has already permitted Somdev to skip the Asian Games at Incheon, instead of warring with the players, on Wednesday decided to allow them to focus on the professional circuit.
With the deadline long gone, India will now field a four-member team in the men’s event comprising Yuki Bhambri, Sanam Singh, Saketh Myneni and Divij Sharan. The women’s challenge will be spearheaded by Ankita Raina.Paes, who had all but confirmed his decision on Tuesday, said, “For me as far as playing for the country and putting best forward is concerned, I have done it for 24-plus years and I will always put my foot forward. I will always do that. Looking at the longevity of my career, playing at Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo (on the ATP tour) has become very important,” reasoned Paes.
Terming it a tough decision to pull out, Bopanna, who made an early exit at the US Open in the doubles event with partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, said, “It was a tough decision for me. We as Asian players look forward to this. Last year I won in Tokyo, so I have to defend there, so it was tough decision. It had nothing to do with representing the country or not. It is just unfortunate.”...