Sania gets Olympic wild card, hits out at Leander Paes & AITA

Jun 27, 2012, 08:58 IST | A Correspondent

India's first lady of tennis Sania Mirza continued where Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi left off in the Olympic selection controversy with some strong comments yesterday after she and partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands advanced to the second round of the women's doubles competition at Wimbledon

The 13th seeded Indo-US pair defeated Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva and American Sloane Stephens 6-4 6-2 after which it was announced that Sania was awarded a wild card along with Rushmi Chakravarthy for the women’s doubles, while Somdev Devvarman also received a wild card for the men’s singles at next months London Olympics.

Sania Mirza during her first round doubles match at Wimbledon yesterday. PIC/AFP

In a press release, Mirza said: “Since the day AITA announced the team for the Olympics a lot of questions have been raised by friends, colleagues, their parents and of course, by the media. As I thought these questions were purely hypothetical without my having qualified into the London Olympics, I did not think it was appropriate for me to respond to them at that point of time. However, now that I am officially a part of the greatest sporting event in the world, I think it is imperative for me to clarify my feelings.”

Sania further went on to praise rookie Vishnu Vardhan, who has been paired with Paes in the men’s doubles event at the Olympics. “To Leander Paes I would like to point out that Vishnu Vardhan is an extremely talented player, who I had the privilege of partnering. We went on to win a silver medal for India at the 2010 Asian Games, when all the three male stalwarts of Indian tennis had opted to stay away from Guangzhou. I am convinced that he can go one better when pitted with someone as good as Leander as partner. For Leander to consider partnering with Vishnu only if he has a written assurance from me to play mixed (as Vece Uncle has suggested in his TV interviews) is, I think, demeaning for me, Vishnu and Leander Paes,” she said.

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