Don’t be surprised to see me on the podium in 2018, says Paes
KOLKATA: Even after being excluded from India’s Davis Cup team, veteran India tennis player Leander Paes on Thursday stood his ground saying he is far from finished and people should not be surprised if they see him on the podium next year.
“I will have a new mixed doubles partner and don’t be surprised if you see me at the podium in 2018,” Paes said at the launch of Senco Gold’s new platinum collection.
Currently ranked 62nd in men’s doubles, Paes further said: “I’ve three months left to lift my ranking and for me to play with an Indian boy (Purav Raja) is very special, especially at this stage of my career.”
“By November-end, I will finish my season and then I will see about next year. I really want to do well to get my ranking back on top,” the 44-yearold said.
Recalling old times, he said: “I picked up Mahesh (Bhupathi) when he was a young boy and we became world champions. Then Rohan and I did very well in the Davis Cup (against Serbia) where we came back from two sets down to win a five-setter.” Paes made his Davis Cup debut at the age of 16 in 1990 and holds the record for the most Davis Cup doubles wins with 42 victories.
He was dropped by new non-playing captain Bhupathi for the tie against Uzbekistan earlier this year. India play Canada on Friday for the World Group playoff tie.
Meanwhile, he said the secret behind the success of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer is that they continue to reinvent themselves despite the wear and tear that comes with age.
“They continue to reinvent themselves. They continue to learn new shots. Federer had a surgery, he was in rehab and came back to win two Grand Slams. You look at Rafa Nadal. He had shin problems... knee problems,” Paes said.
“These boys were away from the circuit at the end of last year when Andy Murray and (Novak) Djokovic were doing well. Now you see the wear and tear of those two at the end of the 2016 season and now they couldn’t play at the US Open. “Now these two legends Nadal and Federer won two Grand Slams each. Let alone the Masters,” he added.
While Nadal beat Kevin Anderson to cap off an extraordinary 2017 season as the No. 1 player in the world, in which he also won the French Open and made the Australian Open final against Federer, the latter Swiss legend bagged his eighth Wimbledon title, 14 years after his first in July.
Federer also won the Australian Open earlier in the year.
“I think that the true class of a champion is how you reinvent yourself to create excellence over longevity,” , 44-year-old Paes said.