Paes Bhupati Saga

I am a fan of Leander Paes..unabashed fan of Lee right from the days he started playing with Ramesh Krishnan in 1991..been following him since then and watched most of his Davis cup triumphs as a wide eyed boy!!
And Leander Paes never disappointed, he may have not had the best of singles career with titles of note..but cometh the Indian flag and cometh the man. Playing for India in Davis Cup he has been phenomenal beating guys like Ivanisevic, Rios, Henman names i remember who were in their prime and ranked several places above him. It was a treat to sit through those matches and watch him perform for the country. Yes today he is a champion doubles player but i remember him most as the guy who kept coming back from the brink and wining it for the nation.

 The recent episode that happened is just a tad too much. I am biased towards Leander and believe he has been treated shabbily. When playing for the country i think its only fair that people keep aside their personal differences and come together to obtain the best possible result. Cole and Sheringham at United did not see eye to eye but were a fearsome strike-force together.

Bhupati and Bopanna unilaterally deciding to boycott Paes was not fair. I understand them wanting to play with each other and both having split with their respective partners and working for a year but even then they knew that the final decision rested with the AITA and if AITA thought that Paes-Bhupati combo was the best then in interest of the nation they should have agreed to it.

It was more a case of Bhupati and Bopanna holding the tennis association to ransom and arm-twisting to get their way. I wish AITA had showed more balls and told the both of them to either honour the selection committee or not go to Olympics. Instead they came up with a so called compromise formula allowing Bhupati and Bopanna to pair and having Leander to go with a low ranked player.

At the end of the day Paes is still the highest ranked Indian doubles player and it would have made more sense to pair Mahesh or Rohan with him.. and knowing how the Indian Express has fared before I wish we could have seen together one last time at the Olympics which definitely will be the last for both of them.

It remains to be seen how Leander reacts to the compromise formula which is highly unfair to him, I somehow think Leander might just play this being his 6th olympics and its a rare honour for any sportsperson to be part of 6 consecutive Olympics. He might just take the compromise formula considering tomorrow not many people might remember him withdrawing but having being there for 6 Olympics would be a part of History.

And if he does withdraw, I will be pleasantly surprised. If anything the saga seems to keep rolling on.


Ekla Chalo Re

If they answer not to thy call walk alone,
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O thou unlucky one,
open thy mind and speak out alone.
If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou unlucky one,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track travel alone.
If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
O thou unlucky one,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
and let it burn alone.