Indian tennis star Sania Mirza has said the team sacrificed a very good shot at a medal in the mixed doubles category at the Tokyo Olympics if Rohan Bopanna's claim that the All India Tennis Association (AITA) misled everyone over qualifications for the Games is indeed true. Sania and Rohan had recently teamed up at the Wimbledon 2021 event.
Sania will be representing India in her 4th Olympics in Tokyo
Rohan Bopanna put up a strong social media post on Monday, saying the International Tennis Federation (ITF) did not accept any entry request for him and Sumit Nagal, who qualified for the men’s singles event at Tokyo Olympics after a series of withdrawals. "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," tweeted Bopanna.
Responding to the post, Sania Mirza expressed her shock 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."
Meanwhile, AITA Secretary General Anil Dhupar has hit back at the allegations made by Bopanna, questioning why the star player was blaming the federation for missing out on the Olympic berth. "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," said Ghupar.
“All offices were closed on Saturday and Sunday, ITF is closed. I don't know why he is saying all this. If you are so good why are you depending on people's withdrawal? You are a world-class player you should enter the Olympics on your own, why are you depending on withdrawal," he added. Dhupar also stated that the federation has done its very best to make sure maximum players could get a chance to feature in the Olympics.
Sumit Nagal qualified for the men’s singles event at the Olympics on the basis of withdrawals. Meanwhile, Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina were confirmed to represent India in the women's doubles event.