Sania Mirza
Rohan Bopanna believes the choice is up to Sania MirzaReuters

The ball is in Sania Mirza's court. The top-ranked doubles player in the world has to decide if she wants to play alongside Leander Paes or Rohan Bopanna in the mixed doubles competition for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Bopanna has made it clear that he wants to represent India in the mixed doubles competition alongside Sania, but knows it is the current Wimbledon and US Open women's doubles champion's call.

"Obviously, I want to play with Sania, Leander wants to play with Sania, so it depends on who she wants to play with, that is the bottomline," IANS quoted Bopanna as saying.

"In mixed doubles, it is up to Sania to take that decision. She is No.1 in the world, she is out there playing the best tennis of her life. So she has to make that call on who she wants to play with or who she is comfortable with."

On paper, a Sania-Paes combination looks the best option for the Rio Olympics, as it could be the nation's best hope for a gold medal. Sania, with her powerful baseline game, and Paes' reflexes at the net, along with his mixed doubles record will make them a dangerous pair.

India's hope for a medal in the Rio Olympics not only rests in the mixed doubles competition, but also the men's doubles, which could see Paes and Bopanna join hands. With Mahesh Bhupathi out of action for some time, Paes-Bopanna seems to be the ideal and only choice for India.

"Of course, if you take Rio, apart from Leander and me there is no one else playing doubles. If I am not mistaken, to qualify for the Olympics you have to be a combined 60 or 65 [in the rankings]. So there is no other player in that category," said Bopanna.

However, Bopanna should not let such things (Rio Olympics partners) distract him in giving his best for the crucial Davis Cup World Group playoff tie against the Czech Republic, which starts in New Delhi on Friday.

Paes and Bopanna will pair up in the doubles tie against the Czechs on Saturday.

Also read