Bhupathi blasts AITA, says Sania being used

Jun 27, 2012, 22:07 IST | AFP

Bhupathi slammed India's tennis chiefs for putting top female player Sania Mirza in an "unbelievable position" in the Olympic selection row.

Admitting that his pairing with Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles category would have been the best bet for India in the London Olympics, Mahesh Bhupathi today said that the Indian star player was used without even being consulted.

Bhupathi slammed AITA for putting Mirza in an "unbelievable position" in the Olympic selection row.

Bhupathi said the situation could not have got uglier and denied he was manipulating other players against his former doubles partner Leander Paes, as Mirza said she was being humiliated by being used as "bait" to pacify Paes.

Bhupathi and his current partner Rohan Bopanna both said they would not play with the higher-ranked Paes at the London 2012 Games for a range of personal and professional reasons.

Mahesh Bhupathi, Sania Mirza
Mahesh Bhupathi has slammed India's tennis chiefs for putting top female player Sania Mirza in an "unbelievable position" in the Olympic selection row. File Pic

Mirza, who has just won the French Open mixed doubles with Bhupathi, then lashed out at the All India Tennis Association (AITA) in a letter about her treatment.

Indian media reported Paes made being paired with Mirza in the Olympic mixed a pre-condition for playing with a lower-ranked player in the men's.

"Things couldn't have got uglier for us in Indian tennis the last week," Bhupathi said after his first round win at Wimbledon with Bopanna.

"It's an unbelievable situation they have put her in and I obviously sympathise with Sania. I feel for her in her letter."

Bhupathi said he wanted to play mixed doubles at the Olympics with Mirza.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm committed to her. We're playing here, and if we get a chance to, we will play the Olympics," he said.

"In her letter she clearly stated that we have won two Grand Slam titles, one as close as two weeks ago. They have to worry about if they want to win a medal for the country -- or, as she said, keep one player happy."

Bhupathi broke up his partnership with Paes in 2002 and recently branded him untrustworthy.

But he denied being a troublemaker in the row.

"It is an underlying problem which a lot of people have to look into and figure out," he said.

"But it is what it is. Everyone seems to think that I'm the one manipulating and pulling the strings for all these extremely individual and successful tennis players like Rohan and Sania (Mirza). It's not true. Some people need to ask hard questions and they get hard answers.

"The process has started. Maybe after the Olympics there is something to be done. We're just glad this whole thing is behind us." 

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