Indian Table Tennis Duo's Olympic Mixed Doubles Hopes Crushed

Indian Table Tennis Duo’s Olympic Mixed Doubles Hopes Crushed

Manika Batra and G Sathiyan’s Olympic mixed doubles aspirations have been dashed after their disappointing performance at the World Mixed Doubles Olympic Qualification tournament in Havirov. The Indian duo, who had set their sights on the 2024 Paris Games, crashed out in the quarter-finals of their knockouts group, failing to secure one of the four Paris quotas available.

Their exit marks a significant setback for India’s hopes of winning a table tennis medal at the Olympics. Sathiyan and Sharath Kamal had previously identified mixed doubles as India’s most realistic chance of a podium finish, given the 16-team format.

The pair’s recent form has been a cause for concern. After a promising start following the Tokyo Olympics, they have struggled to maintain their momentum. In the four major WTT events they competed in this year, they failed to progress beyond the first round.

Injuries and dips in form have also played a role in their decline. Manika dealt with an ankle issue last year, while Sathiyan has been battling a back injury. The lack of training time as a pair has also been a factor, as they are based in different cities.

Despite their efforts to blend their schedules, they have been unable to translate their individual success into a strong mixed doubles partnership. Sathiyan and Manika are still likely to compete in other events at the Paris Olympics, but their mixed doubles dream has come to an end.

BNP Paribas Open Introduces Mixed Doubles Invitational with $150,000 Purse

BNP Paribas Open Introduces Mixed Doubles Invitational with $150,000 Purse

Mixed Doubles Makes a Splash at BNP Paribas Open

The BNP Paribas Open, a prestigious joint ATP and WTA 1000 event, is set to introduce a groundbreaking initiative on Wednesday: a mixed doubles invitational with a substantial $150,000 purse. This exciting addition to the tournament has garnered praise from renowned coach Brad Gilbert, who described it as “very cool.”

The invitational will feature eight teams competing in a knockout format, boasting an impressive roster of 11 doubles major-winners. Among the participants are two couples who are also partners off the court: Katerina Siniakova and Tomas Machac from the Czech Republic, and Desirae Kraczyk and Andrew Harris, an American-Australian duo.

The inclusion of mixed doubles at the BNP Paribas Open marks a significant step forward for the discipline. While mixed doubles has been a staple at the four Grand Slams since before the Open Era and returned to the Olympics in 2012, it has struggled to gain traction on the ATP and WTA tours.

However, the advent of the United Cup in 2022 has reignited interest in mixed doubles. This innovative event, which features men and women competing for their countries on teams, became the first mixed-gender team event to offer both ATP and WTA rankings points. It replaced the Hopman Cup, which served as a similar tune-up event from 1989 to 2019.

The success of the United Cup has raised hopes that the BNP Paribas Open’s mixed doubles invitational could pave the way for more mixed doubles events on the tour. Only time will tell if this latest innovation will lead to a resurgence of mixed doubles in the tennis world.

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