NEW DELHI, June 20 (PTI): The tennis imbroglio worsened today with Leander Paes threatening to withdraw from the London Olympics if he is paired with a lower-ranked player, forcing AITA to defer the team announcement till tomorrow.
Paes has communicated to All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) that he is country’s top-ranked player, placed number seven in the ATP rankings, so he is not ready to pair with a junior player just because Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna have refused to team up with him.
“If Mahesh or Rohan refuse to play with me for our country, then I am happy to play with the next best player that the AITA decides on.
“It would not be acceptable, if with my ranking as the best Indian tennis player, I give up the best option of partner for winning a medal for my country and am made to play the Olympics with a player ranked 207/306 in the world while the No.13 and No. 15 ranked players form another team together based on their refusal to play with me,” he wrote in his letter to AITA.
The junior players referred to in the letter are Vishnu Vardhan (ranked 207th) and teenager Yuki Bhambri (306th).