Sania Mirza, who had a protected ranking of world No. 9 gained direct entry to the women’s doubles at the Tokyo Olympics.
Protected rankings allows a female tennis player to maintain her world ranking in case of a lengthy injury lay-off or pregnancy, for three years post-pregnancy or one year from return of competition, whichever is earlier. The protected rankings could also be used to enter the Tokyo Olympics.
Sania Mirza, who was ranked world No. 9 in the women’s doubles before she took a maternity break to give birth to son Izhaan, was since guaranteed a starting slot for the Summer Games.
Sania Mirza was allowed to select her partner, anyone ranked within the top-300, and she had chosen Ankita Raina, ranked world No. 95.
This will be Sania Mirza’s fourth Olympics appearance. It will be Ankita Raina’s first Summer Games.
Sania Mirza had come closest to winning an Olympic medal at Rio 2016, where she reached the semis with Rohan Bopanna but the duo fell to Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Radek Stepanek in the bronze medal playoff.
However, there will be no Indian representation in the men’s doubles or mixed doubles for the first time since Barcelona 1992, as both Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan missed the cut.
Rohan Bopanna (world No. 38) and Divij Sharan (world No. 76)’s combined ranking was not enough to gain them direct entry and they will have to wait for any withdrawals to have any hopes of playing in Tokyo 2020.
As things stand, there will be no Indian team in the mixed doubles as the qualification rules state that only players who have already made the Tokyo cut in either singles or doubles can team up for the mixed doubles event.