Jakarta : Miffed at not getting a “specialist” men’s doubles partner, veteran tennis star Leander Paes on Thursday pulled out of the 18th Asian Games starting on Saturday.
The 45-year-old Indian, winner of 18 Grand Slams, was asked to team up with struggling singles player Sumit Nagal after All India Tennis Association (AITA) agreed to pair country’s top doubles players Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan in the men’s doubles, on their request.
Paes was already miffed at his exclusion from TOP Scheme but had made himself available for the Asian Games, where he has won eight medals, including five gold.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have to say that I will not be playing the upcoming Asian Games in Indonesia,” Paes said in a statement.
“Despite my repeated requests, from so many weeks in advance, it is sad that we have not been able to put a doubles specialist in the team for a credible second doubles pairing for the Asian Games.”
With Sharan and Bopanna deciding to play together, captain Zeeshan Ali had no choice but to pair Paes with Nagal or Ramkumar Ramanathan.
While Ramkumar is primarily a singles player and plays doubles occasionally, Nagal is in terrible form. Paes has questioned why AITA didn’t field two specialist doubles teams.