Rio de Janeiro:
Seventh time Olympian Leander Paes has termed the reports that he had refused to share a room at the Olympic Games Village here with his doubles partner Rohan Bopanna as "false" and said that his timing of arrival at Rio was according to plans and known to the Indian tennis team.
Speculation of a rift between the two men's doubles players was doing the rounds here and reports have suggested that Paes refused to share a room with Bopanna at the Games Village. It was also speculated that Paes' late arrival had given the duo little time for match practice and Bopanna had to make other arrangements.
But Paes, who will be playing in his seventh straight Olympics, a first in tennis, termed these reports as "baseless" and "false". He said that the timing of his arrival and stay at the Games Village was according to plans and known to the team. "I am disappointed and feel sad by the baseless suggestions in a section of the media, which accuse me of not informing the tennis team about my scheduled arrival in Rio," tweeted the 43-year-old Paes.
"There is also talk of me refusing to share a room withmy doubles partner Rohan Bopanna, which is false and intended to unsettle our preparations for the competition. I am staying in the Games Village which was the plan all along," he wrote. "Hope this clarifies and puts an end to all fabricated stories and allows me and the rest of the Indian tennis contingent to concentrate on doing our best for the nation. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish all my colleagues in the Indian contingent the very best for this Rio Olympics," said Paes who checked in at the Games Village on Thursday evening.
India's Chef-de-Mission Rakesh Gupta clarified that Paeswas always going to stay alone."He (Paes) was given a room and there's no controversy at all. For a legend like him, Paes deserved a separate room for himself," Gupta said, explaining that the Indian ace wasplaying a tournament in New York and hence the delay in arrival here.In the run-up to the Games, a potential pre-London Olympics-like drama was nipped in the bud as Bopanna expressed his preference to partner lower ranked Saketh Myneni instead of Paes in men's doubles before All India Tennis Association intervened to resolve the matter.