Leander Paes, the Indian doubles specialist, who has captured titles across the entire world, suggested that he is not yet ready to hang up his boots. The legendary veteran has won ten mixed doubles Grand Slam titles and eight doubles crowns. His mixed doubles Wimbledon title in 2010 saw him become only the second man (after Rod Laver) to win Wimbledon titles in three decades.
Despite having an illustrious and satisfactory career, Leander Paes said that had not given retirement much thought yet. “How long am I going to play? As long as I enjoy it”, said Leander Paes. “Will I retire by the end of the year? I don’t know, we will see it at the end of the year. As far I am concerned, I am still enjoying my tennis.”
Paes also said that he had no targets or goals as such, and he is now playing tennis only because he loves it more than anything else. “Now, I have achieved everything that’s there to achieve. I don’t have anything to prove to anybody out there. I love my tennis, I have been playing for that many years. I hope I have brought happiness to people over the years”, said Paes.
“Now, I am playing because I enjoy it and I am playing it on my terms. I think the last few years have been very tough both on and off the court. For me, tennis brings a lot of happiness”, added the Indian. Paes also spoke about the new Davis Cup format, and he said that he was not happy with the new rules. Paes, who holds the record for the most number of doubles victories (43) in the Davis Cup, said that in an attempt to popularize the format the organizers have taken away the patriotism that comes with it.
“The Davis Cup has evolved over the years so many times, they have tried to popularize Davis Cup (so that) more of the top players play”, said Paes. “Having played Davis Cup for 28-29 years now since 1990, I know that playing at home you have the home crowd involved, the home court advantage is involved, the home court surface is involved, it popularizes the game in every single country”,he added. “I think this (newer format) is just one more attempt to actually popularize the game and put it in a concept where it’s all happening within one week. I’m not a big fan of it as there will be no home advantage now.”
“And if you are playing away from home, likewise you have to handle adversity, the crowds against you, the alien surface. Also Davis Cup is a huge patriotic event, so I think to spread Davis Cup around the world was the way to go”, said the Olypmic Bronze medal winner.