Vastavam web: The AITA selection committee has erred by not picking two specialists doubles teams for the Asian Games, feel a number of players, who questioned veteran Leander Paes’ pairing with Sumit Nagal. The players though backed AITA’s decision to team Rohan Bopanna with Divij Sharan, as was requested by the top two players in the country.Players inside top-100 — Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Purav Raja and N Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan, who have earned their maiden Grand Slam debut, have all voiced concern at the Paes-Nagal pairing.”It’s not that we don’t have higher-ranked doubles players. We have Purav Raja and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan ranked inside top-100. Another point is I’m sure Leander and Sumit won’t even be seeded,” said Balaji,.
As of today, Paes is ranked 74th and Nagal is 253rd in singles but a low 560 in doubles. Their their combined ranking would be 648. If Paes was to be paired with Raja (76), it would be 150 and with Jeevan it would be 170.”And I am not sure if the two teams from the same country will be drawn in 2 different halves. If that rule is not applicable, they can even draw in the first round. Then we will have only one chance for a medal,” Balaji said.”I feel that when we have so many doubles players who are on top and in the end our goal is to get maximum number of medals, so why not send two specialist team.
“One could have been Rohan and Divij and other could have been Leander and Purav since they have played on Tour too,” said Vardhan.”Sumit is not a bad doubles player. He has won a junior Grand Slam. But just that it’s not the best we have. I just hope they come back with as many medals.”Their argument was if any of the two singles players get injured, Sumit can play but if four doubles players are picked and the singles players get injured none of the doubles players could have played singles while Nagal can play both the formats.
Jeevan, who is superb form and has forced his way back into the top-100, was baffled at the way system works in India.”The core issue is we have an association which is not looking to produce tennis players of world class caliber. So, I think until we focus on having a system in place in our country to train professional tennis players all these selection issues are just noise. “My personal opinion is that picking three doubles players and three singles players is not a brave selection.”
When contacted for his comment, Raja said,”You should ask Leander who he thinks is the best chance he can win a medal with. I think our aim should be medals whether me or best suitable person.” Sumit is going through a rough patch as he has lost eight first round matches in a row. In his five doubles tournaments this season, he has won just one match.