Leander Paes will play in the Asian Games in August for the first time since 2006, as the veteran Indian tennis player was picked in the 12-member squad for the tournament in Jakarta.

The All India Tennis Association confirmed Paes’s return following a meeting of its selection committee on Monday, after it was earler reported that the 44-year-old had confirmed his availability for the quadrennial event.

Paes has won eight medals at the Asian Games, but has not competed in the prestigious quadrennial event since clinching the men’s doubles gold with Mahesh Bhupathi and mixed doubles gold with Sania Mirza at the 2006 Doha Games.

Paes has won a singles bronze (1994), three gold in men’s doubles (1992 and 1996 with Bhupathi and 1994 with Gaurav Natekar) a men’s team gold (1994), a mixed doubles gold with Sania Mirza (2006), a mixed doubles bronze with Sania Mirza (2002) and a team bronze in 1990.

The AITA also allowed India’s highest-ranked singles player Yuki Bhambri to skip the Asian Games considering he is likely to get an entry into the main draw of the US Open. The tennis event at the Asian Games will end just before the US Open, which could affect the 25-year-old’s recovery ahead of the Grand Slam and this is why he was given an exemption.

Bhambri’s absence means India’s charge in men’s singles in Jakarta will be led by Ramkumar Ramanathan, ranked 121st, and Prajnesh Gunneswaran, ranked 183rd. Paes is likely to team up with Rohan Bopanna, with whom he partnered for India’s Davis Cup tine against China in April. Paes could also play mixed doubles with Ankita Raina, while Bopanna and Prarthana Thombare can be the second entry.

In the women’s doubles, Ankita and Karman Kaur Thandi are expected to be the first-choice pair, while Thombare could be teamed up with Pranjala Yadlapalli.

Zeeshan Ali will be the coach of the men’s team, with Ankita Bhambri taking charge of the women.


Women: Ankita Raina, Karman Kaur Thandi, Rutuja Bhosale, Pranjala Yadlapalli, Riya Bhatia, Prarthna Thombare.

Men: Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran, Sumit Nagal, Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan, Leander Paes.