A war of words has erupted between two of India’s most prestigious tennis stars and their national association in regards to the Olympic qualification criteria.
Rohan Bopanna, who has been ranked as high as No.3 in the men’s doubles, has accused India’s governing body AITA of misleading ‘players, government, media and everyone’ on social media. Bopanna and Divij Sharan were initially nominated to play in Tokyo but they were unable to get direct entry as their combined ranking were not high enough. It was then said that the AITA would instead replace Sharan with Sumit Nagal, who is playing in the singles.
However, this didn’t happen as it is not allowed under the rules set out by the International Tennis Federation. Changes can be made to the nominations after July 22nd unless for extenuating circumstances such as injury or illness.
“AITA just confirmed that despite receiving the message from ITF, the entry of Sumit and me cannot be considered. Why did they still mislead everyone that Sumit Nagal & myself still had a chance and mislead everyone. Thank you AITA for clarification for exactly what I said,” Bopana tweeted Monday.
Three-time Grand Slam champion Sania Mirza, who will be playing in the women’s doubles draw at the Olympics, also hit out at the AITA and backs up Bopanna’s claim that he was told Sumit could replace another player.
“If this is true then it’s absolutely ridiculous and shameful..by this it also means that we have sacrificed a very good shot at a medal in the mixed doubles if you and I would have played as planned. We were both told that you and Sumit’s names have been given,” she said.
The tennis player’s remarks have been blasted by Anil Dhupar, who is the secretary-general of the AITA. On their Twitter account the AITA said ‘comments by Rohan Bopanna and then Sania Mirza are inappropriate, misleading and without knowledge: they should have checked the rule book of ITF regarding qualifications.’
In an interview with NDTV Dhupar said Bopana “shouldn’t be dependent on withdrawal of other players” in order to play at the Olympics. He has also denied misleading anybody and insisted players were not told they could play.
“We have not misled, we have tried our best to have them on board, they have not made it because of their rankings. If they haven’t accepted Rohan and Sumit then Rohan and Divij’s nominations is still there. We are still trying to send Sumit, what can I do if Rohan’s name is not accepted by ITF,” said Dhupar.
Since those remarks, an audio recording between him and Bopana have been published in which he is allegedly heard saying that the ITF had accepted his entry. Contradicting a previous statement issued by the federation.
Boria Majumdar, who is a Consulting Editor for Indian Today, has published part of the phone conversation allegedly between the two.
The AITA is yet to comment on the audio recording.
BOPANNA: Hello Anil sir, how are you doing?
DHUPAR: Bas theek hai, I am waiting for tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed, maybe we get some good news tomorrow.
BOPANNA: I saw Berrettini has pulled out sir..,
DHUPAR: Who?……………………….I am saying that I am expecting some good news tomorrow, be ready, that’s all.
BOPANNA: Sumit and my entry is fourth as of now?
DHUPAR: It is in fourth……..Sumit and yourself because your and Divij is out of the question.
BOPANNA: ITF has accepted that?
DHUPAR: That they have accepted the nomination.
Russia And Canada Complete ATP Cup Semi-Final Line-Up
Russia and Canada will meet in the ATP Cup semi-finals on Saturday.
Russia and Canada booked their spots in the semi-finals of the ATP Cup on Thursday.
Russia completed their group stage campaign with a 2-1 victory over Italy in Group B.
The match was a winners take all clash with the Italians making the perfect start as Jannik Sinner defeated Roman Safiullin 7-6(8) 6-3.
However world number two Daniil Medvedev levelled the tie in a hard-fought victory over Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini.
Medvedev needed 2 hours and 40 minutes to edge out Berrettini 6-2 6-7(5) 6-4 to put Russia level with Italy.
Then all four singles players returned for the doubles which the Russians won 5-7 6-4 10-5 in a tense contest.
This saw Russia book a place in the last four and after the match Medvedev spoke about the importance of his win over Berrettini, “The first set I was in control and it’s tricky because you think that things will continue to go your way but that’s not the case when you’re up against a Top 10 player,” Medvedev told the ATP Cup website.
“I made some bad decisions in the second set so I tried to learn from that in the third. I served well throughout the match and that helped me.”
Russia will now face Canada in the last four on Saturday after Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime both secured singles wins over Germany.
Shapovalov edged out Struff in three sets to give Canada the lead and then Felix Auger-Aliassime scored a huge victory over Olympic champion Alexander Zverev 6-4 4-6 6-3.
This meant that Canada denied Great Britain a place in the semis after the Brits beat USA 2-1 earlier in the day. The other result saw Australia beat France 2-1.
Russia and Canada will meet in Sydney on Saturday while tomorrow Poland will face Spain.
Canada gets first win at ATP Cup after comeback victory over Great Britain
Felix Auger-Aliassime inspired Canada to victory against Great Britain at the ATP Cup.
Team Canada got its first win of the tournament when they beat Team Great Britain 2-1 and it all came down to the doubles match.
Evans eases by Shapovalov
Dan Evans got the first point of the tie as he had no issues getting by Denis Shapovalov beating him in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in one hour and 23 minutes serving four aces and winning 88% of his first-serve points.
The first six games of the opening set stayed on serve and it was the Brit who earned the first breakpoint of the match and broke the Canadian and that one break of serve proved crucial as he took the first set,
Evans carried the momentum into the second set and it looked like the Canadian was still easing his way into his game and he broke him early in the set to take an early 2-1 lead.
Again that one break of serve was all the Brit needed to serve out the set and the match and give the first point to Team Great Britan.
Auger Aliassime responds for Canada
Felix Auger Aliassime responded for Canada beating Cameron Norrie in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-3 in two hours serving eight aces, and winning 85% of his points on his first serve.
The first set was a battle as these two players know each other well and the last time they met was a three-set marathon match in Vienna with the Canadian getting the win.
The Montreal native got the first chance to break at 4-3 and took it for a 5-3 lead and a chance to serve out the first set. When serving for it the Canadian got tight and Norrie made him pay by breaking him right back.
The first set was decided by a tiebreaker and the world number 11 won the first six points of the breaker and took the first set.
Winning the first set gave the Canadian the momentum he needed and he broke the Britt early in the second set in the second game and that one break of serve was enough for him to serve out the match.
This meant the doubles match was going to decide the winner of the tie.
Canada wins deciding doubles
With the tie level at 1-1, the winner was decided by the third and final doubles match and it was Auger Aliassime and Shapovalov beating the British duo of Jamie Murray and Joe Salsbury.
A 6-4, 6-1 win in one hour and 10 minutes with the Canadians serving seven aces and winning 83% of their points off the first served ensured that all teams in the group now have a record of 1-1.
Davis Cup Champions Russia Banned From Hosting Ties In 2022
The newly crowned champions will not be allowed the opportunity to potentially play some of their matches next year at home due to a ruling by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
The bidding process for host cities of the 2022 Davis Cup Finals will get underway in the coming weeks but Russia will not be allowed to take part.
Last week Daniil Medvedev led his country to victory over Croatia in the final to give Russia, who were playing under the name of the Russian Tennis Federation (RTF), only their third title in the prestigious team event which was founded back in 1900. In this year’s finals, they also beat Germany, Sweden, Ecuador and Spain en route to the title.
Next year’s tournament is once again set to be a first in the Davis Cup history after organisers confirmed that the finals will be staged across a total of five cities. During a recent press conference, the International Tennis Federation and investment company Kosmos say they plan to stage each of the four groups in separate cities and a fifth city hosting the knockout stages. The name of those hosts has not been announced but it is widely speculated that the Middle East may hold the knockout stages. The number of teams in the finals will be cut from 18 to 16.
However, Russia will not be allowed to stage a tie in 2022 but will be free to do so from the following year. This is because the country is currently banned from international competition for doping violations. An extensive investigation discovered multiple incidents of illegal doping practices by Russian officials at various Olympic Games but tennis have never been implicated in the scandal. As a result the World Anti-Doping Agency, which the International Tennis Federation is a member of, handed Russia a ban. This is why Medvedev and his team played under their federation name and not their country.
The ITF has confirmed to UbiTennis that the ban is in force until December 16th 2022 which is after the 2022 Finals.
“The ban remains in place for two years and that includes Russia hosting any WADA listed world competitions or world cup tournaments/competition events, and when competing outside of Russia the use of their national name, insignia, emblems and anthem are banned throughout this same period,” an ITF spokesperson told UbiTennis.
Kosmos, who are the main financial driving force behind the Davis Cup, had previously said they hope to select cities on a contract basis lasting ‘three to five years.’ However, they also want to maintain that every host city belongs to a country playing in the Finals which complicates matters somewhat. It is possible that Italy could be selected as a host for a three-year period but if they fail to qualify in one of those years, they may lose their hosting rights.
“It can happen that you have an agreement with a city or country, then the home team is not classified (qualified). That’s why we need to have multi-agreements, plus backup options, for fixing the possibility of not being classified,” Kosmos president Enrique Rojas recently told reporters.
The process for selecting the host cities will begin in January with interested candidates having six weeks to present their proposals. A final decision is then expected to be made round mid-Match.
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