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Selector Rajpal in London to convince Paes to take part in London Olympics

June 24, 2012 - London

National tennis selector Rohit Rajpal is in London on private business, but may take some time out to pacify Leander Paes and convince him to partner lower ranked Vishnu Vardhan in the 2012 London Olympics.

The All India Tennis Association (AITA) had on Thursday announced two doubles teams for the 2012 London Olympics.

Tennis ace Leander Paes was paired with a lower ranked player Vishnu Vardhan, while Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna were declared the second pair.

Unhappy with the decision, Paes had threatened to withdraw from the games. He is currently in London to prepare for Wimbledon with his partner Radek Stepanek of the Czech Republic.

"Most of the factors are he is one of the top players in the world, there is nothing really to discuss accept that I hope he can put this behind him," said Rajpal.

A row erupted when the All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) announced on June 15 that Bhupathi would be prevented from competing with his normal partner Rohan Bopanna.

Instead he would have to play with Paes, with whom he won three grand slam titles before the pair had an acrimonious split.

Both Bhupathi and Bopanna refused to play with Paes.

"Leander's (Paes) our highest ranked doubles player and he was expecting to be selected as a team," Rajpal added.

The national selector added that he would try to convince Paes to honour the selection.

"I have just got in last night and I would like to give him some time, this is something very new that has happened and to just sleep over things," Rajpal said.

Bhupathi and Paes joined forces to great effect in the late 1990s, winning the French Open and Wimbledon in 1999 before claiming a second Roland Garros title two years later.

Their partnership did not endure, however, as the relationship gradually deteriorated and they ceased to play together on the tour circuit from 2002.

They announced they would never appear together again after joining up for the Asian Games in 2006, but managed to put their differences aside to play at the Beijing Olympics, where they jointly finished fifth.

They played together at the Australian Open in 2011 and Paes even attended Bhupathi's wedding to former Miss Universe Lara Dutta.

Paes, who completed his collection of men's doubles grand-slam titles when he triumphed at the Australian Open in January with Czech partner Radek Stepanek, was given direct entry into the Olympic doubles thanks to his top-10 ranking.

Bopanna is ranked 12th and Bhupathi is 14th.


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