CNN-IBN’s associate editor (sports), Digvijay Singh Deo accessed the e-mails exchanged between Mahesh Bhupathi-Rohan Bopanna and All India Tennis Association (AITA). Down below is the detailed content of e-mails exchanged.
E-mail by Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna to AITA
Dear Mr. Khanna,
We hope this e-mail finds you well.
We write in relation to the Men's Doubles selection for the London Olympic Games and further to the contents of your e-mail dated 10th March, 2012. We are very grateful of your assurance that the final selections will be undertaken only after consultation with all the players involved, and we would like to take this opportunity to communicate with you and other members of the Selection Committee. We request you to formally put forward the contents of this e-mail to all the members of the Selection Committee. If it would, instead, be in order for us to write to each of them individually, please do let us know.
As you have mentioned in your email - based on your conversation with Mr. Juan Margets of the ITF and the rankings due to be released tomorrow based on which our combined ranking will certainly be below 50 - we, as a team (of Mahesh Bhupathi & Rohan Bopanna), will be eligible for direct acceptance to the Olympics Men's Doubles draw and our country will therefore be entitled to field two Men's Doubles teams. Despite the clarity provided in the aforementioned, it appears that there remain some unfounded doubts in the minds of the members of the Indian tennis fraternity and certain quarters of the AITA regarding our eligibility for direct acceptance as a team or that we will be nominated together as a team. We take comfort in knowing that you will do your very best to apprise the Selection Committee and all relevant functionaries of the AITA of the facts as they stand.
At all times in our professional careers, we have put the country before our individual interests and in this instance it is no different. As with each of you, we are focused on India sending its strongest possible team to the London Olympics so as to give our nation its very best chance at a medal. As a result, we would like to place certain facts and our perspectives before you, the Hon'ble President AITA, the other members of the AITA and the esteemed members of the Selection Committee.
1. We have trained, practiced, traveled and competed together for over 6 months in preparation for the Olympics. We are and remain the highest ranked currently playing Indian men's doubles team in the world. Both of us committed to playing with each other in 2012 with the clear goal of best preparing for the London Olympics. Our record as a team speaks for itself:
- Winner Dubai (500 Series)
- Semi Finals in Madrid, Miami and Rome, all Masters Series Events
- Wins over #1, 4, 6 Mens Doubles teams in world
- A team ranking of #7 in the world, the best of any active Indian pair playing currently
2. While we are reassured by your clarification that the selection will be a consultative process with the players, there remains a fair bit of ambiguity as to the actual selection process and the manner in which our inputs will be sought and considered. Despite the selections being just a few days away, barring a brief chat with Mahesh in Paris, neither of us has been approached for our thoughts, views and perspectives.
3. As you will no doubt agree, doubles tennis is a team event. A doubles team is not merely a sum of two individuals, however highly ranked they might be. Understanding and synergies between team-mates is crucial. A successful doubles team is one that actively competes together, trains together, trusts each other and is committed to the partnership - the best teams share a certain chemistry. On all these counts, we strongly believe that these key ingredients make our team a very strong contender for the London Olympics and the best team that our country can put forward.
4. With respect to the four contenders you mention for Men's Doubles spots, Leander and Mahesh have not played a single match together in the last 7 months. Rohan and Leander have played one match together over the last 7 months and lost to a team from Uzbekistan. Somdev will be returning to competitive tennis after an injury lay-off. We believe that there is no other pairing than us that is better prepared and equipped to take on the best teams from across the world. The people of our nation deserve for the best prepared team to play together. Further, our participation as a doubles team of a combined rank of less than 50 will give our nation the opportunity to put forward a second team of Leander and Somdev, thereby increasing the number of Indian teams participating at the Olympics.
As you will appreciate, we could remain mute spectators and have the selection process unfold before us. However, we feel we would then be failing in our duty to our nation, given our passionate belief that it is the best possible Men's Doubles team that must represent our country at the London Olympics.
In summary, we request that:
(a) This communication be placed before all members of the Selection Committee and considered fully;
(b) Our team be nominated as one of the Men's Doubles entries for direct acceptance by virtue of our combined ranking of less than 50; and
(c) Both of us (Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna) are considered for selection as a doubles team only and not as individual players to be paired with any other players who might be eligible for Men's Doubles selection.
We trust that our requests will be considered favourably in the interests of our nation. As a team, we are confident of bringing pride to our fellow citizens. Should you have any questions or require any clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Mahesh Bhupathi & Rohan Bopanna
AITA’s response to Bhupathi-Bopanna e-mail
Dear Rohan and Mahesh,
Your email to Mr Anil Khanna dated 10th June 2012 has been read by Mr Anil Khanna and Mr Bharat Oza and on their directions has been forwarded to me as I am the convenor of the Selection Committee Meeting to be held in Bangalore on 15/16 June. As desired by you, I am forwarding your email to the President AITA, all Executive Committee Members and Selection Committee Members. In addition, I am also forwarding your email to Raja Randhir Singh, Secretary General, IOA and Secretary (MYAS) as it is the Govt who has supported the players financially for preparation of Olympics and it is the IOA which has to nominate the final team to IOC. Decision on whether to field one team or two teams will be taken by the Selection Committee.
In your letter you have requested that you will like to be considered for selection as a doubles team only and not as individual players to be paired with any other player who might be eligible for Men's Doubles Selection.
I request you to kindly confirm in writing that each one of you would be available to play for the country in partnership with any player unconditionally as may be decided by the Selection Committee.
I request for your kind confirmation by the 12th June. In addition to the above, we expect Mr Anil Dhupar, Member Executive Committee AITA, Representative of IOA and of MYAS to attend the meeting.
I request you to send your further emails to me as I am the convenor for the Selection Committee Meeting and I will forward the same to the members.
Wishing you all the best and with warm regards,
Col Ranbir Chauhan