Kolkata: Indian tennis ace Leander Paes yesterday said that based on current performance, he and Sania Mirza should be picked as the mixed doubles pair for the next year's Rio Olympics.
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Sania Mirza and Leander Paes
"With Sania Mirza, I played at London (Olympics), we lost to the eventual champions, (Victoria) Azarenka, (Max) Mirnyi (of Belarus). We had a great chance in that game too. We have both had good seasons, so on merit, it is an obvious choice to let me and Sania go. But after what happened in London, I don't think anything can be taken for granted. But I hope another London does not happen. The best team should go and represent the country and it should be done on merit. I am looking forward to playing with Sania and Rohan, if I get the opportunity," Paes told reporters here in his capacity as IDBI's Kolkata Marathon's 'Face of the Event'.
'Focussed on mixed doubles'
He was referring to his pairing with rookie Vishnu Vardhan for the men's doubles event at the 2012 London Olympics after both Mahesh Bhupathi and Bopanna refused to play doubles with him then. The national tennis federation eventually persuaded Sania Mirza to play the mixed event with Paes.
"For Rio, I have focussed a lot on mixed doubles, I have been focussed on the Grand Slams as mixed doubles is only played in four Grand Slams. And having a wonderful partner in Martina Hingis has allowed me to do that. Winning three of the four Grand Slams leading into the Olympics, it's pretty obvious where my focus is," added the nine-time mixed doubles Grand Slam winner.
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As for the men's doubles event in Rio, Paes felt that he and Bopanna have the best chance of grabbing a medal. "Pretty obvious in the men's doubles that Rohan and myself have the best chance of going out there and winning the medal. Rohan has been playing some wonderful tennis, he has been playing with (Florin) Mergea and has done well. With Rohan and myself playing doubles for India, I think we have a great chance of grabbing a medal," added Paes.