Rohan Bopanna vents ire on ITF over lack of communication ahead of Tokyo Olympics

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Rohan Bopanna

New Delhi: The Indian tennis camp is still in dilemma about the men’s doubles qualification with only 12 days until the Tokyo Olympics. While the women’s doubles pair of Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina have already booked their spot, their male counterparts Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan are still confused about whether they are headed to Tokyo or not.

Bopanna (World No.38) and Sharan (World No.75) had secured a combined ranking of 113 and have not made the Tokyo Olympics cut yet. The only hope for the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist pair is that there will be withdrawals following the Wimbledon which end on July 11.

“I’ve been asking what the cut is for the last five days, nobody really knows,” Bopanna said in frustration from Wimbledon. “I don’t know why the ITF is not releasing the official cut. Some say we are two out, some say four out. Technically we’re in the cut. The combined ranking of the last team is 204.

“But this time the ITF has made singles a priority ahead of the doubles ranking. So guys like (Matwe) Middelkoop and (Robin) Haase, who have a combined ranking of 76, are not in. ATP doesn’t know, ITF doesn’t know and it is impossible for us to plan then,” the two-time Olympian said.

Bopanna competed in both the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles at Wimbledon but failed to make any worthy performances. The Bopanna-Sharan duo was knockout out in the men’s doubles first round while partnering alongside Sania, Bopanna advanced to the third round before being ousted.

Bopanna also stated that due to the COVID-19 pandemic the singles ranking was being given more weight than the doubles ranking this time. “Singles ranking is given priority because of COVID protocols, you only want a set number of athletes there,” Bopanna said.

“It’s like saying if you’re going for a long jump let the same guy do the high jump… It’s two different disciplines at the end of the day. Players have worked years to get their rankings high enough to represent their country at the highest stage. It is definitely frustrating,” said the veteran.

In case Bopanna and Sharan did not qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, India won’t have a men’s doubles pair at the Summer Olympics for the first time since the 1992 Barcelona Games. India’s chances of putting up a pair mixed doubles will also go up in smoke if no men’s doubles pair qualifies.

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