New Delhi: Amid rising speculation on who is going to partner Sania Mirza at the Rio Olympics, contender Rohan Bopanna says his sole focus now is to maintain his top-10 ranking till the French Open in June. While veteran Leander Paes has already said that he is the ideal painter for Sania, Bopanna said a lot of scenarios can play out before the Rio Games in August.
“I will play all the big tournaments there are on the calendar before Rio, starting from Dubai to Indian Wells, Monte Carlo, Rome, French Open. The aim is to be in the top-10 till the French Open and we will see who can partner who, be it doubles or mixed doubles. So there is a long way to go before Rio,” Bopanna told PTI today. The qualification for Rio will depend on the rankings published on June 6, while the French Open will be played from May 16 to June 5.
Bopanna said it is impossible to predict his partner as of now. Paes, who has slipped to 52 in the doubles rankings, had earlier claimed that Bopanna had refused to play with him in the lead up to the Olympics. Asked for his reaction on Paes’ comments, Bopanna said he is happy to continue with his current partner Florian Mergea.
“The focus is on improving on the gains made last year. After a while, I will be with a partner at a stretch for one year (in April). “The cut off for Indian Wells next month is a combined ranking of 50 so I can’t play with Leander anyway. Everyone needs to defend points before the French Open and I will be doing the same. There are lot of scenarios before the Olympics. And you have to remember you have to qualify for either men’s singles or men’s doubles to even go to Rio. So as I said long way to go,” said Bopanna.
Though it is not yet known whether India will have two men’s doubles teams like in London 2012, the country’s best chance of a medal is in mixed doubles alongside world number one Sania Mirza.