IMAGE: Leander Paes, who had gained India its first and solely Olympic medal in tennis at 1996 Atlanta Olympics, mentioned he is working laborious to win one other medal. Photograph: Leander Paes/Twitter
Indian tennis icon Leander Paes on Friday mentioned he’s getting ready laborious to take part in subsequent yr’s Tokyo Games to make it a record eighth straight Olympic look.
On the Christmas Day of 2019, Paes had introduced his ‘One Last Roar’ tagline, calling 2020 to be his final season as an expert participant, culminating with the Tokyo Olympics.
“None of us then imagined that we’d get hit by such a giant pandemic. It has made all of us introspect…,” Paes mentioned on the launch of ‘Motovolt Mobility Smart E-Cycles’ in Kolkata.
“But after this lengthy break, I really feel joyful. I’ve little doubt in my thoughts that bodily, mentally and emotionally I’d be prepared.”
“For me it is crucial to make sure that India’s identify stays in the historical past books and that’s the reason I’ve continued my profession for 30 years.”
Paes would flip 48 by the point Tokyo Olympics, slated to start on July 23, mentioned age is only a quantity and he has the large motivation to make sure that India’s identify stays eternally in the record books.
“I have already got the record at seven and I’ve the motivation that if I can push that as much as eight Olympics, my perception is that India eternally will keep in the historical past books as essentially the most variety of Olympics performed in tennis. I’m hoping Tokyo comes round, the occasion occurs.”
Paes, who had gained India its first and solely Olympic medal in tennis at 1996 Atlanta Olympics, mentioned he is working laborious to win one other medal.
“I’m working very laborious. It’s not nearly participation. You guys have identified me, if I’m going to the Olympics, I’m going for successful and never only for placing up the numbers,” he mentioned.
“Age is only a quantity. The tennis ball doesn’t know the age of a human being hitting the ball. It understands energy, spin. It’s what we do issues.”
Asked whether or not he would like Divij Sharan or Rohan Bopanna to associate in the Olympics, Paes mentioned: “When it involves the Olympics, no matter which associate I play with, so long as India represents itself to get the world record of eighth look, I’m effective.”
Paes mentioned be it Rohan, Divij or Ankita Raina in the blended doubles he is effective with anybody.
“Like I’ve carried out in the previous, I’ve performed with Mahesh, Rohan, Sania in the Olympics… Everything that I’ve carried out is for the flag, for our neighborhood,” mentioned Paes.
The winner of 18 Majors additional mentioned he is eyeing one other milestone of creating it a century of Grand Slam appearances in the primary draw.
Paes already has a Davis Cup record of most doubles victories at 45 which he had achieved at Zagreb on March 7 this yr.
Partnering Bopanna, Paes beat Croatia’s Mate Pavic and Franko Skugor 6-3, 6-7 (9), 7-5 in the Davis Cup Qualifiers.
“I did not relaxation till I bought all of the world data — in Davis Cup, the Olympics and now embarking on ending enjoying my 100 Grand Slams,” Paes, who’s three shy of the feat, mentioned.
“I’m nonetheless ready for the calendar to come back out. The Australian Open has already been pushed again. I nonetheless do not know whether or not it’ll occur or not…
“We are hoping that the vaccines are distributed quick so all of us can get again to our each day lives,” Paes concluded.