With the upcoming Asian games, the announcement of defending men’s singles champion Somdev Devvarman about his decision to pull out last week came as a shock for all the Indian fans out there . This news started a chain reaction and other high profile players Rohan Bopanna, Leander Paes and Sania Mirza too followed the trail. Starting on September 19, the only player one can pin their hopes on is Sania Mirza who on 12th september changed her heart and decided to play in the asians.
As a result of all the pull outs, the participation of the Indian team at Incheon looks doubtful with top government officials admitting that they may be forced to cut down or even scrap the entire squad. “It is disappointing that top tennis players have pulled out of the Indian team. It has affected our medal chances and we may be forced into a rethink on whether the remaining members of the squad should make it to Incheon as they don’t stand much of a chance,” one of the government source revealed.
“Special circumstances have developed where it is necessary for the players to participate in ATP and WTA events to protect their rankings and… qualify for the yearend World Masters,” All India Tennis Association (AITA) president Anil Khanna said in a statement on Wednesday. There are many negative reviews on the players backing off from the game at such a nationalistic event claiming that their decisions are utterly unreasonable. Though the players have announced their decision, there’s still no official communication from the All India Tennis Association (AITA). At this point it is unclear whether the tennis team will travel. The goverment will take a final decision speaking to AITA officials on Friday.
Players in the squad in the men’s section now consist of Yuki Bhambri (world ranking 153), Sanam Singh (358), Saketh Myneni (430) and Divij Sharan (doubles ranking 124).
The women’s team excluding Sania Mirza consists of Ankita Raina, the top player with a world ranking of 293 while the others in the squad are Prarthana Thombare (337), Natasha Palha (509), Rishika Sunkara (594) and Shweta Rana (617). With the big names gone, keeping the expectatons to the minimum would be an ideal option . The young guns may come up with unexpected results but as of now we can only hope that the squad will be ready and approved to go despite all the difficulties.