New Delhi: In a new twist to the row surrounding India's participation in the tennis event at the London Olympics, sources confirmed to CNN-IBN that Leander Paes has rejected the two-team formula mooted by the All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) after Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna refused to partner Paes at the doubles event.
Moreover, according to sources, Paes has insisted on being paired with a 'worthy partner' and wants a best partner as he is a top ranked player. Also the AITA has delayed the press meet from 5:30pm on Wednesday to 2pm on Thursday.
"I can't be condoning or rewarding the drama enacted by Mahesh and Rohan. I am happy to partner Mahesh or Rohan at the Olympics and will withdaw if forced to play with low-ranked player," Paes said.
Leander Paes has rejected the two-team formula mooted by the All Indian Tennis Association, sources told CNN-IBN.
On the other hand talking to CNN-IBN, Vishnu Vardhan, who was expected to pair Paes at the Olympics said, "I was hopeful of playing the Olympics but I am sure AITA is considering all options. Anything can happen during the Olympics and seeding always doesn't matter."
"I am ready to play in the Olympics whether he wants to play with me or not is Leander's personal opinion. Maybe I will call up Leander to convince him that I can partner him well," Vardhan added.
Earlier on Wednesday, AITA was reportedly considering softening its stance and was open to sending two teams, where Leander may partner Vishnu Vardhan as one team and Bhupathi and Bopanna as the other. However, sources said that Paes has rejected the idea and also threatened to pull out of the Olympics if his demand is not met.
With just over a day to go to file entries for the Olympics, India is making a desperate bid to resolve the differences between the three players involved - Paes, Bhupathi and Bopanna - with the Life President of AITA and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna also stepping in to save the situation earlier on Wednesday.
Krishna has asked AITA president Anil Khanna to meet all the players personally and resolve the issue. He has also requested the three tennis players to forget their personal differences and play for the country.