Game Set. No Love Lost

What’s behind the Lee-Hesh spat? And why’s Sania brawling along with them?

WrittenBy:Sunayana Singh
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Lesh-Hesh, Sania & Bopana. One can make a rap song with these guys and all their sordid, backstabbing, accusation-hurling, sulky, childish behavior.

But why do Lee-Hesh hate each other? God knows. I firmly suspect a woman was involved. Someone was definitely making a move on the other’s woman.

Really?? Who? I don’t know! Why else would they break up such a brilliant partnership. Has to be over a woman.

That’s right. Blame the woman. I said OVER a woman. Insecure.

But there must be other (more plausible) reasons. Yeah. That’s possible also, I suppose. Apparently, Lee ain’t so popular with other tennis players.

Why? He’s so successful! Wonderful player. Oh yeah. He’s won 7 doubles and 6 mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, not to mention being a runner-up in many others. Many more titles than the Indian Cricket team can boast of, considering how much attention they get. Forget about in India, he’s considered one of the greatest doubles and mixed doubles players in the world!

Awesome. He’s also been the captain of the Indian Davis Cup team and received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 1996-1997, the Arjuna Award in 1990 and the Padma Shri award in 2001 for his outstanding contribution to tennis in India.

Others must be jealous of him. Possibly. Also, he’s considered to be extremely selfish and thinks the world revolves around him.

Not a popular trait. Well the world did revolve around him for a while when he was Davis Cup Captain and the All India Tennis Association (AITA) gave him free hand to decide who will play what game.

Uh oh. Rumour has it (and please don’t quote me) that in the past, he has managed to piss off just about everyone he’s played with. Stuff like trying to pressurise Bhupati’s tennis partner, Rohan Bopanna to play with him instead (which Bhupati called backstabbing), keeping Bhupati out of the squad for the Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan; shouting at Bopanna after they lost the doubles game in Uzbekistan and so on and so forth. He also supposedly had an issue with Bhupati neglecting his fitness.

Ouch! He’s been saying that he needs a pair of fresh legs on the court. But to give Bhupati and Paes their due, since their first break-up in 1999, they’ve been there for each other. Paes attended both of Bhupati’s weddings and has promised to attend the third.

Bhupati’s getting divorced again? No. And Bhupati was there for Leander when he underwent an operation for a lesion in his brain.

Sweet. So why can’t they get along for the sake of a gold medal. You know my theory.

So what’s all this Olympic nonsense about? Well our governing tennis body, the AITA, which decides who will go for what competition decided (correctly so) to send Leander. I mean who else is most likely to get a medal. But both Bhupati and Bopanna refused to partner him, and so for a while no one knew if Paes would even go to the Olympics.

Why did they refuse to partner him? Well since Lee-Hesh broke up (again) in 2011, Bopanna gave up a successful partnership with Pakistani player Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi to partner Mahesh so they could snag an Olympic medal. So they want to play with each other. There’s also the GloboSports issue.

Eh? Well again rumour has it…

Tell me facts. Use google for that. Rumour has it that AITA is not so happy with Mahesh’s company GloboSports which has managed to hold ATP and WTA events in India and has also succeeded in bringing players like Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams, Martina Hingis and Mary Pierce here without AITA getting a piece of the pie.

Uh oh. How dare he? So they supposedly want to sideline him for making them feel inadequate. That’s why they’re keen on letting Paes have his way.

AITA has its own issues. First it was RK Khanna who was running the show and even got a tennis stadium named after himself. And now his son Anil Khanna is AITA president. It’s been run by the same family for so long that they should rename it RK Khanna & Sons.

Hahaha. Not funny. So Mahesh and Bopanna refused to play with Lee. Lee threw a fit and even though he likes “younger fresher legs” refused to play with anyone else. Finally he gave in and is now partnering Vishnu Vardhan ranked 206 in the world, and we’re sending two teams to the Olympics. Oh and by the way he said, and this time you can quote me, “I don’t even know if he (Vishnu) has grass-court shoes. So it’s a bit of a tough one. But he’s a really good kid, I’m happy to play with him.”

Now I see why people may not like him. But why was Sania Bhabhi, I mean Sania Mirza upset? Oh ya. More drama. So now Sania and Mahesh recently won the French Open mixed doubles. And clearly they want to play together. But since Lee doesn’t get to play with Bopanna, he gets Sania as a partner.

That Hesh and Sania just crashed out of Wimbledon in the first round didn’t really help their cause.

Poor Sania. Switch frame to Sania’s tearful press release. My hopes and dreams of winning medals are being sacrificed at the altar of gigantic male egos. But I’ll do it for the country. Sob. Of course there’s that little matter of Sania and Bopanna both being part of GloboSports, which is Mahesh Bhupati’s celebrity and sports management company. Did someone say something about vested interests?

Shocking. So in this loveless saga, Sania is upset with everyone, Mahesh and Bopanna and the rest don’t like Lee, Lee doesn’t like anyone coming in his way, and the AITA doesn’t like Mahesh much and is looking totally powerless to control anyone. And that’s all we have for you in this sordid saga. For more drama…you won’t have to wait long.

If you happen to be in London post-July 26

Do: Expect lots more nonsense.
Don’t: Have high expectations of a medal

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