New Delhi: Here is Leander Paes' letter to the All India Tennis Association regarding their meeting with the sports ministry.
Mr. Bharat Oza,
Hony. Secy. General,
All India Tennis Association
REFERENCE: Choice of partner for the 2012 Olympics Men’s Doubles Tennis
In reference to your meeting with the Ministry of Sports, I have the following comments to make:
Representing India at the Olympics is a cherished dream, and one in which I have agreed to participate unconditionally, with the understanding that we would aim to put our best team forward and target a medal.
I have been ATP ranked at No. 1 in the world as a team and No. 7 in the world individually, for the first 6 months of 2012. By virtue of this I have got a direct entry into the Men’s Doubles at the Olympics with the right to choose my partner.
I would also bring to your notice that Sania and I, by virtue of our combined ranking of No. 19 on the ATP Tour have got a direct entry in the Mixed Doubles at the Olympics.
Coming back to the Men’s Doubles, I am comfortable to partner Mahesh or Rohan for the forthcoming Olympics.
If Mahesh or Rohan refuse to play with me for our country, then I am happy to play with the next best player that the AITA decides on.
However, it would not be acceptable, if with my ranking as the best Indian tennis player, I give up the best option of partner for winning a medal for my country and am made to play the Olympics with a player ranked 207 / 306 in the world while the No.13 and No. 15 ranked players form another team together based on their refusal to play with me.
If this is the case then for the sake of Indian Tennis and to relieve the AITA in regards to the selection of the team, I have no other option but to withdraw from the Olympics.
This decision is not taken lightly and with any rancor. We cannot be condoning or rewarding the drama enacted by Mahesh and Rohan. This would be a bad precedent for current and future sports persons (particularly tennis players) in our country.