New Delhi: India's ace tennis players Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza on Monday lashed out at the All India Tennis Association (AITA) for lack of clarity over the nomination of players for the Olympics.
AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar, meanwhile, hit back at Bopanna's allegations, saying qualification for the Olympics should not have been left at the mercy of withdrawals.
"All formalities started on June 17 and we also wrote taking a chance that if Sumit being single's player is also entitled to have a doubles partner. So that's why we changed the nomination from Rohan-Divij to Rohan and Sumit for the Tokyo Olympics," Dhupar was quoted as saying by ANI.
The 41-year-old Bopanna said that India's apex tennis body has misled him and the entire country over his qualification.
Is Rohan Bopanna suggesting that we should have entered his name with Sumit Nagal one month ago when Sumit's ranking was in the 140s and Divij was at 78. "The comment by Rohan Bopanna, who is a senior player is due to lack of knowledge and without understanding the facts, rules of ITF and is unwarranted and totally misleading.
"Even the comments of Sania Mirza are most inappropriate. The ranking of Rohan with Divij or Sumit Nagal was not good enough for qualification. So how did we lose an opportunity to win medals either in men's doubles or mixed doubles? This tweet and statement of Mr Bopanna are condemned unequivocally," it added.
"ITF has never accepted an entry for Sumit Nagal & myself. ITF was clear that no changes were allowed after the nomination deadline (22nd June) unless Injury/Illness. AITA has misled the players, government, media and everyone else by stating we still have a chance. @AnurajR1," tweeted Bopanna.
It was reported that the AITA had paired Bopanna with Sumit Nagal in the men's doubles competition at the Olympics by withdrawing Divij Sharan's nomination.
The AITA had thought of pairing the two since Nagal had already qualified for the singles event and was bound for Tokyo.
However, as Bopanna said the ITF had not accepted the change.
India's Grand Slam winner Sania Mirza also criticised AITA and tweeted, "Whaaattt??? If this is true then it's absolutely ridiculous and shameful..by this it also means that we have sacrificed a very good shot at a medal in the mixed doubles if you and I would have played as planned. We were both told that you and Sumit's names have been given," Sania said in a tweet.