India, who have only won 26 medals in the Olympics ever since they first participated in the Paris Olympics in 1900, will depend on their tennis players to bring home the elusive medal in the upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics.
However, if India are to have a golden chance of winning the medal, they need to come up with the best pair, which can help bring laurels to the country. Leander Paes, who has been a regular feature for India in the Olympics for a few years, has made it clear that he wants to partner Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna in the mixed and men's doubles respectively.
"In men's doubles I believe the best team is Rohan and myself and likewise in mixed doubles it is Sania and myself," PTI quoted Paes as saying.
Paes does not want dirty politics to be involved when the team selection is done for the Olympics. In the last London Olympics, Bopanna and Mahesh Bhupati refused to pair up with Paes, who believes he should get a nod for his stupendous Grand Slams in 2015 with Martina Hingis.
"I hope that does not happen again in doubles or mixed doubles. I believe, selection should be on merit. To win three mixed doubles Grand Slams in 2015 leading to the Olympic year I certainly hope that I am India's front runner in Rio in mixed doubles," Paes said.
The nominations for the pair are expected to be filed in March-April and Paes is quite confident that the people related to selection will consider him the best candidate to represent India in the Olympics, purely on merit for the things he has achieved in the court.
"I hope that another shambles of selection does not happen. This coming summer, I think by about March or April, really is when the nominations go in. Regardless of what happens in the Aussie Open, U.S. Open and French Open this year, you look at the number of Grand Slams that I have won and also the men's grand slams. I have in all won 33 Grand Slams. Think on merit, I should get a call."
Paes wanted to play alongside Bopanna in the upcoming Chennai Open to prepare for the Olympics, but the latter rejected the offer. Paes, who won three mixed doubles title in 2015 with Hingis, also had a word with Sania to partner her for the Olympics.
"I have spoken with her a few times. Without shadow of a doubt when one goes by merit, winning three Grand Slams leading to the Olympics kind of speaks for itself."
But Paes did not make any offer to Sania to play in grand slams as the former has had an incredible run with Hingis, a pair, which he is not eager to break.
"To win three Grand Slams of four, you do not want to break that as it is not a bad achievement. Hence, Martina Hingis is one of the greatest partners that I have had. She is one of the legends of the game and a great partner too. So, I am playing with her in the Aussie Open."