The All India Tennis Association (AITA) finally intervened to remove the obstacles from the way of Leander Paes who will now make a record appearance in the Olympic in Rio de Janiero in Brazil in August.
In a repeat of the pre-Olympic drama in 2012, Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza had expressed their reservation against taking Paes on board the flight to Rio. However, like the last time, their resistance was overruled as the tennis federation stood by the 42-year-old Paes who has been playing in Olympics since 1992 and also won the bronze medal in the 1996 edition played at Atlanta, US. [Rio Olympic: Paes-Bopanna in doubles]
Though the AITA has cleared things for now and conspiracy theories over the off-court spat and the suspected hands behind the sides at loggerheads are doing the rounds, the question is: Can Paes and Bopanna produce their best at the top event after this ugly episode?
Unfortunate that Indian players ignoring the bigger goal
It is unfortunate to see Indian players fail to inspire themselves and overcome differences when the occasion is as big as the Olympic. Paes is by far the Sachin Tendulkar of Indian tennis and it had made little sense had he been dumped to give comfort to the dissatisfied voices.
What was the need to bring the differences in the open?
It is also sad to see an ace player like Sania Mirza deciding to choose the crucial pre-Olympic period to hit back at Paes. Did it suit her stature to make these clashes of personalities so big just before the mega event when all players should come together and go for the kill?
Are Indians better at individual sports?
Are Indians better at playing individual sports than as a team? True, the game of cricket in which India is most successful is a team event but in that too, India could arise as a unit long, long after it had actually started playing. Today, the system in cricket is so improved and stakes are so high that individual clashes don't really matter. Groupisms are always there but certainly no rebellion.
The champion trio should focus on bringing home the medals
But what has happened in Indian tennis today over Paes really marks a low point for the country's sporting history. May be because Indian tennis has made a mark on the world stage and the prides of the players are clashing more often than not. But then, why waste more energy and time on the negative aspects and not focus on exploiting more riches and pen history? That's how achievers book their places in history.