London, June 18 (IBNS) The All India Tennis Association (AITA) suffered another set-back Monday, with Rohan Bopanna officially refusing to pair with Leander Paes for the men's doubles event at the 2012 London Games.
First Mahesh Bhupathi rejected AITA's decision to team up with Paes and now Bopanna's decision puts India's campaign in the Games in serious jeopardy.
Bopanna in a letter to AITA made it clear that he cannot combine with Paes although it is his "dream to represent India in Olympics".
"With all respect and humility, I have been unable to accept AITA's offer and have communicated my decision to them in writing this morning," Bopanna said in a statement.
Bopanna said he teamed up with Bhupathi earlier this mind only with the aim of playing in the Olympics. He said AITA was well aware of it and also encouraged them.
Bopanna said Paes do not make a good pair and their partnership is unlikely to yield any result.
"Since the beginning of the year, I have partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi towards playing together as at team at the Olympics. This was communicated to the AITA at every step and we were encouraged to continue to play together.
"Having played alongside Leander Paes only twice during my career, I recognise that as a team we are under-prepared for the demands of the Olympics and, in good faith, I could not accept AITA's offer that we play together."
Bopanna admitted that his controversial decision might be difficult to comprehend but he won't risk his professional integrity for a shot at the Olympics.
"I understand that many might find this decision difficult to comprehend. However, my professional integrity will not permit me to make this compromise. I owe this to the partners I have played with in the past, Mahesh Bhupathi who I currently play with and those I will partner in the future. I will still be able to look each of them in the eye," Bopanna said.
"I believe we are nothing but the product of our choices," he said.
Bopanna said he also could have taken an easy route by continuing his team with Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi but did not do that.
"In October 2011, I broke up an extremely successful partnership with Aisam Qureshi as I believed that Olympics preparedness required hard work and understanding between partners and the numerous little adjustments that make a team work.
"This was the toughest professional decision I have taken, as it signified an end to a great partnership and jeopardised a close friendship that was built over many years of struggle and, ultimately, success on the ATP Tour."
"Having been ranked No. 8 in the world last year, I could have taken a far easier route to Olympics qualification - if that was my only goal - by continuing my existing partnership and aiming for a personal top-10 ranking.
"However, I am an athlete who believes that outcomes are a product of process and preparation. I also believe that successful partnerships of every sort require investment of time and emotions through the ups and downs, and that sporting partnerships are no different," he said.