So much for all the talk, all the buildup, all the negativity, all the bad vibes – after much brouhaha, Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna crashed out of the Rio Olympics 2016 tennis tournament in the first round on Saturday.
It was coming, considering the manner in which the two were put together, and with the Indian pair facing a really difficult team in Lukasz Kubot and Marcin Matkowski of Poland, those chances of an early exit only increased.
The only way Paes and Bopanna were going to go through was if they find their mojo as a team, but it was not to be as Kubot and Matkowski beat the Indian pair 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) in one hour and 24 minutes.
Bopanna and Paes came into this Olympics with plenty of doubts over their compatibility, after the former decided to snub the latter in his doubles partner pick, and those issues were on show in Rio on Saturday.
Both of these Indians might be great doubles players, but when it comes to playing together on court, something goes missing, especially against quality opposition.
In the first set, Paes and Bopanna just could not get enough first serves in, allowing Kubot and Matkowski to take advantage as a result. The serving improved considerably in the second set, a set in which both teams broke serves once each, but just when the India pair needed to hold their nerve in the tie-breaker, they could not.
And just like that, their campaign in the Rio Olympics ended, barely after it had even begun. While Paes' seventh appearance in an Olympics ended in a whimper, Bopanna still has a chance to make an impression, when he plays in the mixed doubles with Sania Mirza.