Leander Paes just cannot keep himself off controversies. During a press conference held after the final match of Davis Cup in Delhi, Paes remarked that India didn't send their best team to the mixed doubles event at the Rio Olympics.
He called it a sad state of affairs that despite winning four Grand Slams in the run-up to the Rio Games, he wasn't considered to partner Sania Mirza.
Indian Express quoted Paes as saying, "I'm someone who has a long-sight, we've got the Asian Games coming up in 18 months and the Olympics in four years, whether I'm around or not around, got to nurture these guys. Otherwise four years from now, it would again be a tussle for who is playing the Olympics and come back without anything."
He made the statement while he sat beside Saketh Myneni post their four-set marathon loss against Rafa Nadal and Marc Lopez which gave Spain an unassailable 3-0 lead in the Davis Cup World Group Playoff.
"I can very, very clearly say that the past two Olympics, we didn't put the best teams forward. This Olympics - the mixed doubles - was a huge opportunity. What more does a man have to do than win four Grand Slams in fourteen months? There were no other tournaments to win, I couldn't create more tournaments. And still not get a chance to play. Sad!" he added.
Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza represented India in the Rio Games. They finished fourth after losing to Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram in the semi-finals and Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka in the bronze medal playoff. Paes had partnered Bopanna in the men's doubles event where they crashed out in the first round itself.
Paes, who is just short of one Davis Cup doubles record of 43 wins, said, "This is for the selection committee and the captain to decide. But considering the way we played today against a gold medal winning team comprising a 14-time Grand Slam champion and who has won a Slam well, would be crazy to switch something around. But, at the end of the day, I'm here to support the team."
However, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna did not take the legendary player's remarks lying down. Taking an apparent dig at Paes, Sania tweeted:
To which her Rio Olympics partner added:
At it again!! ...the usual ploy to stay in the news by slanging fellow players in media. #Patriotism— Rohan Bopanna (@rohanbopanna) September 18, 2016
Leander Paes is yet to reply to what Mirza and Bopanna said. But, will he manage to pull an ace?