New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI): India tennis player Rohan Bopanna on Tuesday slammed the All India Tennis Association (AITA) for playing with the careers of players, and he went on to label the federation "incompetent".
On Monday, Bopanna had said International Tennis Federation (ITF) never accepted an entry for him and Sumit Nagal for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and had made it clear that no changes were allowed after the deadline of nomination unless there was an injury or illness.
A day later, Bopanna shared the call recording of his conversation allegedly with AITA Secretary-General, Anil Dhupar, in which the latter can be heard saying that ITF has accepted the entries of Bopanna and Sumit Nagal.
"Good morning...AITA Secretary General blantanly lying saying ITF accepted the entry. Stop LYING to everyone and its time for a change. Its been 50+ years all players have suffered thanks to the federation incompetence," tweeted Bopanna.
"Keep your fingers crossed, hopefully we will get some good news tomorrow. I am expecting good news tomorrow, I'll call you. Sumit and yourself are the fourth entry, ITF has accepted the nomination," the voice, allegedly of Dhupar, can be heard as saying in the audio posted by Bopanna.
On Monday, Dhupar had condemned the "inappropriate and misleading" statements from tennis players Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza. Sania had said that the team sacrificed a very good shot at a medal in the mixed doubles category in the Tokyo Olympics if Bopanna's claim were indeed true.
AITA in a statement explained that Bopanna couldn't qualify for the Tokyo Olympics due to ITF rules.
"Twitter comments by Rohan Bopanna and then Sania Mirza are inappropriate, misleading and it appears, without knowledge of the rules. They should have checked the rule book of ITF regarding qualifications, something that Divij Sharan seems to have done while writing to TOPS," AITA said in a statement.
"Rohan Bopanna could not have qualified as per ITF Rules. Therefore Sania Mirza's tweet is also baseless and coming from a player of her stature, is condemnable. Fact of the matter is that India's best entry was sent for Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan, which was the correct decision. However, they did not qualify as per ITF rules. Our players' rankings were not good enough for direct qualification, and we made all efforts to get them in. Rohan and Divij were fifth on alternate list on 16th July," it added.
In the men's singles, Nagal qualified for the Tokyo Olympics on the basis of withdrawals. The 23-year-old currently sits at 154 in the ATP Ranking. He achieved career-high No. 122 on August 24, 2020, after reaching Prague, CZE Challenger QF.
Sania Mirza and Ankita Raina were confirmed to represent India in women's doubles at the Olympics after entries were officially announced in July. Sania is now set to become the first female athlete to represent India at four Olympics when she features at the Tokyo 2020, slated to get underway from July 23 while Ankita Raina will be making her debut at the showpiece event. (ANI)