2012 yearender: Olympics controversy takes sheen off a few fantastic tennis feats

Paes bhupathi

Some fine individual achievements were pushed out of public memory as a shattered Olympic dream, wrecked primarily by avoidable ego clashes, hogged the spotlight in a turbulent year for Indian tennis.

Ageing star Leander Paes began 2012 with a bang as he completed his career Slam by grabbing the Australian Open with new partner Radek Stepanek in January.

Sania Mirza won her second Grand Slam when she triumphed at the mixed doubles event of the French Open with Mahesh Bhupathi and remained a force on the WTA tour at least in doubles.

Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna won a few titles together and also qualified for the year-end high profile ATP World Tour Finale in London.

These were no mean achievements and deserved accolades but in the end, the fans would remember 2012 for the bitter bickering between these very players ahead of the London Olympics.

It cannot be claimed that India would have certainly won the Olympic medal had Bhupathi and Paes played together instead of playing with different partners and had Bhupathi and Sania competed in the mixed doubles.

But the way teams were picked, the players fought over the combination and the way the All India Tennis Association handled or rather allowed the situation to go out of hand, was upsetting and disturbing.

Team events in sports is all about players' chemistry and it defied logic when AITA broke the Grand Slam winning mixed combination of Bhupathi and Sania.

It all started when Bhupathi and Bopanna rebutted the original selection and refused to team up with Paes. AITA had to budge under pressure at that time but took revenge by throwing out both of them from the Davis Cup team.

Bhupathi, who earned the distinction of becoming the first player of the country to win a Grand Slam, is now fighting a court battle to get his suspension revoked.

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