New Delhi: Leander Paes will feature in a record seventh Olympic Games after the All India Tennis Association on Saturday announced that that the veteran would partner Rohan Bopanna in the men’s doubles at the Rio Games in August.
In the mixed doubles, Sania Mirza will be paired with Bopanna.
The AITA went against Bopanna’s request who had picked Saketh Myneni as his preferred partner for the men’s doubles at the Olympic Games.
Paes, a winner of 18 Grand Slam titles, will feature in his record seventh Olympics. He won the mixed doubles title at the just-concluded French Open, partnering Martina Hingis and is the highest-ranked Indian doubles player after Bopanna.
Paes had categorically said that his pairing with Bopanna is the best option available for India.
“We definitely don’t want a repeat of London,” Paes had said, when asked numerous times about his participation in the Olympics.
He was denied his choice of partner for the 2012 London Games and forced to play with rookie Vishnu Vardhan since Bopanna preferred to partner Mahesh Bhupathi in the men’s doubles.
A lot of bad blood was created and India returned without any medal.
India have won only one Olympic medal in the tennis discipline, though Paes, who a bronze in the men’s singles at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Sania will play women’s doubles with young Prarthana Thombare, the country’s No 2 doubles player, ranked 209.