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Did Sania Mirza just call Leander Paes a 'toxic' person?

India Today logo India Today 19-09-2016

The bitterness of not getting a shot at the Olympics mixed doubles event continues to rankle Leander Paes and the veteran Indian tennis star has no qualms in stating that the country did not send its best team in the event to Rio.

"I can very clearly say that in this Olympics and last Olympics we didn't put the best team forward. This Olympics the mixed doubles was a great opportunity. What more does a man need to do than win four Grand Slams in 14 months. There was no more tournaments to win, I could not create anymore tournaments. Sad. Long story short, let's nurture these kids," Paes said referring to his fantastic mixed double run leading up to the Games.

Sania Mirza, who went to the Olympics with Rohan Bopanna, took an apparent dig at Paes over his somewhat caustic remarks.

It turned out that Bopanna also retweeted Sania's original tweet.

Sania and Bopanna had been picked to represent India in the Games and the duo lost in the semi-finals before going down in the Bronze medal playoff as well.

Paes was speaking to the media after partnering Saketh Myneni in a hard-fought men's doubles loss to Olympic champions Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez in the ongoing Davis Cup. The 43-year-old said he would love to partner Myneni in the circuit as well.

Photos: Tennis players — Then and now

Tennis players: Then and now

"I always believe it is the decision of the selection committee and captain but considering the way we played against a gold medal winning team and that too against 14-time Grand slam champion and Marc Lopez who has just come from winning a grand slam, good God, it will be crazy to switch anything around but having said that I am here to support the team," the 43-year-old said.

"I have a little long sight, sometimes people believe in it and sometimes people don't. We have the Asian games coming up in 18 months and the Olympics in four years and whether I am around or not around, we need to nurture these guys or else four years from now it will again be a tussle who is playing and who is not.

"I would love to play with him. I had a lot of partners who are much less talented than him. If I get Saketh for six months and if he keeps working hard, this guy can win a Grand Slam with others not just with me. This guy can be a Grand Slam winner, he is a hell of a player," he added.

During the Rio Games, there was controversy surrounding Paes and Bopanna.

In the run-up to their first round match in Rio, Paes made the headlines for all the wrong reasons with questions being raised about his delay in joining the squad. Apparently, Bopanna was not happy with Paes joining the squad so late.

To make matters worse, Paes and Bopanna just had one practice match ahead of the quadrennial extravaganza when they played against South Korea in the Davis Cup match in Chandigarh in India last month. As a result, both suffered a first-round exit from the Olympics.

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