The mixed doubles event in tennis has traditionally been a strong event for India in major international competitions like the Grand Slams and Asian Games. Indian doubles specialists like Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupati and Sania Mirza have won many grand slams in the mixed doubles event.
Although India has never won an Olympic medal in this event yet, they came close in the 2016 Rio Olympics.The Indian pair of Sania Mizra and Rohan Bopanna lost to Czech Republic’s Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka in straight sets in the bronze medal playoff match and finished 4th. However, Indian tennis has been on a steady decline since then.
Why India Will Not Have a Mixed Doubles Team in Tokyo
In the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics, India’s top two doubles players at present, Rohan Bopanna (Ranked 38) and Divij Saran (Ranked 75) had a combined ranking of 113, which was not good enough for them to make the cut for Tokyo. This is the first time since the 1992 edition of the Olympics that India has failed to qualify for the Men’s Doubles event in the quadrennial event.
In the men’s singles division, the top two Indian players, Prajnesh Gunneshwaran (Ranked 148th) and Sumit Nagal (Ranked 150th) have failed to qualify because of low ranking.
With India’s men’s singles and doubles players unable to qualify for the event, India will not be able to field a mixed doubles tennis team in Tokyo . This is because mixed doubles does not have any separate qualification events for the Olympics. The teams are formed by on-spot registration of teams made up of players playing in the men’s and women’s singles or doubles.
How This Will Impact India’s Medal Prospect in Tennis
The Mixed Doubles event would have been India’s best chance to win a medal in tennis, in Tokyo. India’s star doubles player Sania Mirza is making a comeback in the women’s doubles in Tokyo, after a gap of 2 years from competitive sport. If she had Rohan Bopanna playing with her in mixed doubles, India would have definitely fancied their chances of winning an Olympic medal. The pair would have been one of the most experienced and formidable tennis duos in the event.