Indian tennis players question lack of clarity in Olympic cut list



Unsure of their participation in the Tokyo Olympics, tennis players in India are “confused” about the criteria adopted to finalize entries as they have been confirmed to participate in the lower rankings but still do not know the exact mark of the interval for the Games. Rohan Bhubana and Devj Sharan were unable to get a combined rank of 113 making the cuts when the June 14 rating was considered for entries but due to withdrawals the vacated places were shown to the next eligible players.

Several players, who had not made the cut earlier, announced their participation even though the ITF has not officially announced the cutoff.

The lack of transparency in the process is what Indian players are suspicious of.

“The most confusing part as a player is that even though the deadline for entering the Olympics has passed, we have no idea what the exact cut-off for the ranking is,” Bhubana told PTI from Bengaluru.

“I was asking the ATP when I was in London (with Wimbledon) but unfortunately they don’t have a definitive answer to that,” the 41-year-old said.

Singles player Prajnesh Guneswaran said it’s frustrating not being able to access the information about the ellipsis.

“Honestly, I don’t have a lot of ideas about the process. But I think there should be an easier way to check the roster while it’s still moving. We need clarification so players can prepare,” he told PTI.

“We shouldn’t be asking around and finding out what the list and pieces are,” he said.

Bhubana, who is only the fourth Indian player to win a Grand Slam title, was wondering how the players with the lowest common rank before him and Charan were chosen.

He was referring to the Spanish team of Pablo Andujar and Roberto Carballes Baena, whose total rank was 170.

“I have heard from a few players who have qualified from their country but the combined ranking is much lower than that of Divij Sharan and myself.

“It has been said that singles players who qualified have priority over doubles players in the doubles event,” he said.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) has made it clear that it will prioritize singles players, who have already participated in the singles draw, to fill positions in the doubles draw.

“Because we have reached the quota in terms of the number of athletes allowed on the site, we now have to prioritize doubles teams with at least one singles player in the lottery,” an ITF official told PTI.

This surprised Bubana, who said it was unfair.

“Solos and Doubles are completely different disciplines with different skill sets and I feel in the future, I hope this will be taken into account to qualify.

“It’s like if someone is jumping 100m, let them run the 800m too because track and field. Or the long jump if someone qualifies, let them do the high jump too. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.

Tomas Mack from the Czech Republic recently announced on his Instagram page that he will compete in the Tokyo Games.

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Now Machak was ranked 145 in the ATP rankings list on June 14 while India’s Sumit Nagal was ranked 144 on the same day but did not make the cut.

Asked about this, the ITF official explained that “Thomas Mashak has received the ITF place (final qualification place) for a player from a country in Europe that is not already represented at this event.”

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