For one particular Olympic athlete – Mahesh Bhupathi – the London Olympics 2012 has been a non-stop battle, filled with selection rows and partner swapping before the action on court even kicked off. Now out of the competition following his and partner Rohan Bopanna’s second round loss in the men’s doubles tournament, Bhupathi has announced that he will not be participating in the 2016 Rio Games and is giving up on his dream of winning an Olympic medal.
“I’ll be supporting Rohan from the stands. I will definitely not be playing in Rio”, Bhupathi confirmed after losing to the French wildcard entrants Julien Benneteau and Richard Gasquet. Taking the blame for the loss, and stating that he had “let the team down” with his below par performance the Indian Grand Slam champion, who is well regarded as one of the best doubles tennis players in the world, dejectedly went on to explain “I guess I’ll have to die without an Olympic medal. It’s definitely not something that’s going to be in the cupboard but we gave it a good shot.”
Surprising not just his home country with the loss but the rest of the tennis world, insiders are struggling to understand how this experienced Olympic partnership lost so early in the tournament particularly to two lower-ranked and less experienced players. No doubt the dramatic build up of events leading up to the Games had an effect, although Bhupathi did state that “(we) came here with ideal preparation. The mind wanted it, the heart wanted it, but the limbs stopped.”
Although Bopanna has yet to comment on his partner shouldering total responsibility for the loss, Bhupathi is insistent that the knockout was entirely his fault “I’m personally very disappointed with how I played today….Under pressure I have been able to deliver and this time I wasn’t. All credit to Rohan. The last two matches he played were the best matches of the year so far.”