Trouble at Indian tennis camp? Paes yet to reach Rio, partner Bopanna trains with Serbian Nenad Zimonjic
Leander Paes, one half of India's men’s tennis doubles team in Rio Olympics, is yet to reach Rio de Janerio, forcing his partner Rohan Bopanna to train with Sania Mirza and Serbia's Nenad Zimonjic.
The pair of Peas and Bopanna will begin their Olympic medal quest on August 6.
Bopanna confirmed the reports of him practicing with players of other countries and his mixed doubles partner Sania. "I came in yesterday and I had a good hit with Sania (Mirza) and then today Zimonic also... Since I was here early I decided to practice with him and get a few sessions in there," Bopanna was quoted in a FirstPost report.
Reacting sharply to the issue, India's non-playing captain Zeeshan Ali said, "Arriving on the 4th for a match that may be on the 6th is definitely not enough time (for preparation)," reported ESPN.in.
“I feel a little sad for Rohan. You know from obviously playing. This is one of the toughest tournaments in the world and we are having to find people, he’s having to go around asking people to practice with," Ali was quoted as saying by CNN News18.
"Unfortunately he hasn’t showed up as of yet. I’m pretty much in the dark as to where he is and when he is coming,” he said of Paes.
Paes, a six-time Olympian, is expected to arrive Thursday evening.
Reports doing the rounds suggest that Paes has refused to share a room or even stay in the same flat as Bopanna at the Games Village in Rio. He had requested the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to find him a separate accommodation.
Rohan Bopanna, India's highest-ranked doubles player, had preferred lower-ranked Saketh Myneni over the senior-most Leander Paes before All India Tennis Association (AITA) intervened and forced him to pair with senior Olympian.
Friction between Bopanna and Paes is well known as the former had even preferred to play in the 2012 London Olympics with Mahesh Bhupathi, forcing Paes to pair up with rookie Vishnu Vardhan.
However, both played together in Davis Cup for India last month and even secured a win. Bopanna had said that their on-court chemistry was great.