London: India's feuding tennis stars will seek to put the selection acrimony behind when they launch their Olympic campaign here Saturday, hoping to prove that their personal differences will not come in the way of bagging a medal for the country.
The wranglings among players in the build up to the mega-event has raised serious doubts on whether they are in the right frame of mind to be able to give their best when the event gets underway on the hallowed grass courts of Wimbledon.
Even though the team has now assembled for the event, the odd disparaging statements has continued to come out from the players to keep the tension alive.
The row in the build up to the mega-event has raised doubts on whether they are in the right frame of mind.
But the seasoned players - Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza - are thorough professionals and will try to put their best foot forward for the sake of the country. But whether they would manage to do so or not will be known in the coming days.
Bhupathi and his partner Rohan Bopanna, who are seventh seeded, will open their campaign against Max Mirnyi and Alexander Bury of Belarus in the men's doubles tennis event.
Seasoned pro Leander Paes and his unfancied partner Vishnu Vardhan will take on Julien jean Rojer and Robin Haase of The Netherlands in their men's doubles opening round as per the draw announced yesterday.
In women's doubles, Sania Mirza and her partner Rushmi Chakravarthi clash with the Taipei duo of Su Wei Hsieh and Chia-Jung Chuang in the opening round.
Somdev Devvarman, who got a wild card, will launch his campaign against Jarkko Nieminen of Finland in the men's singles opening round. If he manages to overcome his first round opponent, he will take on the winner of the match between third seeded Andy Murray of England and Stanisias Wawrinka of Switzerland.
For the first time in its Olympic history, India has as many as seven tennis players taking part in the quadrennial event.
Four of them - Somdev, Bopanna, Vishnu Vardhan and Rushmi are first timers and have virtually no experience.
Somdev, who got a wild card, has come out of a shoulder injury and it remains to be seen how far he can progress in the men's singles event.
Bhupathi and Bopanna are ranked 15th and 14th, respectively in the ATP doubles list and a pair to reckon with if both are on top of their game.
They qualified for London Games by virtue of being number seventh team in the world. While Bhupathi will be competing in his 5th Olympics, it is the first for Bopanna.
Since deciding to play together in 2012, they have won one title in Dubai.
Paes, who has been forced to play with the 223rd ranked Vishnu Vardhan, is expected to shoulder the entire responsibility.
Paes is currently ranked fifth in men's doubles, while Vishnu, 24, is ranked 223rd on the ATP charts.
Paes will be appearing in a record-equalling sixth Olympics, but for Vishnu, this is the first.
In the women's double, the going may get tough for Sania, ranked 12th in the world, as her partner Rushmi is ranked as low as 472nd in the chart.
While Sania is an accomplished doubles player having won 14 titles, 34-year-old Rushmi has loads of experience but only in domestic circuits and ITF-level tournaments. She has the Indian record of winning 45 ITF women's circuits titles of which 34 came in doubles.
Sania and Rushmi had won an ITF title way back in 2004 in Britain. Since then Sania rose through the ranks, but Rushmi failed to make the grade.
The No. 1 seed in the men's singles, Roger Federer, who won the doubles gold medal with Swiss teammate Stanislas Wawrinka in Beijing, and second seeded Novak Djokovic, who won the singles bronze medal in Beijing, and Andy Murray are among the top players taking part in the singles event.
Altogether 44 countries will be represented at The All England Club, there will be a 64-draw for the men's and women's singles with 16 players seeded in each event, and a 32-draw for the men's and women's doubles, with eight teams seeded in each event.
The mixed doubles, which is making a return to the Olympics as a medal sport for the first time since Paris 1924, will have a 16-draw, with four teams seeded.
The draw for the mixed doubles is being held mid-way through the tennis event on July 31.
Entry into the mixed doubles will be based on each pair's combined ranking. Players can use either their singles or doubles ranking to qualify, whichever is highest, and a maximum of two teams per country are permitted.
There are 12 Direct Acceptances into the mixed doubles, with the remaining four spots being filled by ITF Places.The row in the build up to the mega-event has raised doubts on whether they are in the right frame of mind.