| Rohan Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupathi, at Wimbledon |
Calcutta: Selection committee member Jaidip Mukerjea feels Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna do not have much of a chance in the London Olympics.
“On present form, their chances are not that bright.” Mukerjea said, on Sunday.
“They did not do well at Wimbledon and also fared badly at the French Open. They will be up against players like Roger Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. So, going by the present form, their chances look bleak,” he said.
Mukerjea also is not pining too much hope on Leander Paes and Vishnu Vardhan. “They are a scratch team. So it will be foolish to expect anything noteworthy from them,” he said.
The Indian tennis saw a major controversy as Leander, Bhupathi, Bopanna and Sania Mirza washed dirty linen in public.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) initially chose Leander and Mahesh for the doubles event. Both Bhupathi and Bopanna refused to partner Leander. They insisted on being sent as a team to London.
A cornered AITA agreed to team up Bhupathi and Bopanna while Paes was given the young Vishnu as partner. In compensation, Paes was assured that he will be teamed up with Sania Mirza for the mixed doubles.
Sania was keen to play with Mahesh, but later agreed to partner Paes. But not before blasting the AITA for using her a bait.
“The controversy will surely affect Mahesh and Rohan. The morale gets affected and it takes a toll on the preparations.”
Mukerjea felt that the controversy could have been avoided. “Look both Leander and Mahesh are at their fag ends of their careers. The goodwill they earned in the last 15 years has been affected. The common man will now have second thoughts about Leander and Mahesh…”
Since joining forces at the start of the 2012 season, Bhupathi and Bopanna have played 14 tournaments together and won one — Dubai Championships — in February.
They have entered five semi-finals, including the three Master Series, but have been a flop at Grand Slams.
In the last four tournaments, Bhupathi and Bopanna’s best performance has been a quarter-final appearance at the Queen's Club event in London.
At Wimbledon, they were out in the second round and at Roland Garros they did not go beyond the first round. Mukerjea said much would depend on the draw. “Let’s see, who they play in the early rounds,” Mukerjea said.
The former Davis Cupper also felt that Bhupathi and Bopanna would be under a lot of pressure to perform due to the selection controversy.
“They have a point to prove. Pressure will be on them to deliver after all the controversy,” he said.
On the mixed doubles pair of Leander and Sania, Mukerjea said: “Both are right court players. So someone has to make a sacrifice. In all probability Leander will be playing on the left court. I am not sure. After all it’s their call…”