New Delhi: The national tennis federation on Monday condemned the inappropriate and baseless comments by Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna, who accused the AITA of misleading everyone by wrongly claiming that it had paired him with Sumit Nagal for the Tokyo Olympics.
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) had paired Bopanna and Divij Sharan for the men's doubles event but the team failed to make the cut because of its low combined rank of 113.
However, after Nagal made the cut for the men's singles on July 16 following large-scale withdrawals, AITA saw hope in getting a men's doubles team's entry since singles players were being given the priority to fill the doubles draws.
The AITA announced that it has changed the combination by pairing Bopanna with Nagal.
Bopanna, 41, on Monday countered AITA's claim.
"ITF has never accepted an entry for Sumit Nagal & myself. ITF was clear that no changes were allowed after the nomination deadline (22nd June) unless Injury/Illness. AITA has mislead the players, government, media and everyone else by stating we still have a chance," Bopanna tweeted.
Reacting to Bopanna's tweet, Sania Mirza wrote, "Whaaattt??? If this is true then it's absolutely ridiculous and shameful..by this it also means that we have sacrificed a very good shot at a medal in the mixed doubles if you and I would have played as planned. We were both told that you and Sumit's names have been given."
"Twitter comments by Rohan Bopanna and then Sania Mirza are inappropriate, misleading and it appears, without knowledge of the rules," AITA said in a statement.
".....Rohan Bopanna could not have qualified as per ITF Rules. Therefore Sania Mirza's tweet is also baseless and coming from a player of her stature, is condemnable.
"....We asked ITF whether the entry of Sumit Nagal will suffice to pair with Rohan Bopanna for an entry into men's doubles. ITF informed us that this cannot be done at this stage because of various reasons and rules. Even if it is done, the pair would still not qualify.
"Rohan with Sumit would be a third alternate pair (according to ITF)."
AITA said Bopanna's comment are due to lack of knowledge and without understanding the facts, rules of ITF and is unwarranted and totally misleading.
"Even the comments of Sania Mirza are most inappropriate", the statement read.