Just during the last week of 2019, 18-time Grand Slam doubles champion Leander Paes announced 2020 would be his final season on the ATP Tour. Also, he labeled it as the “One Last Roar.” He played his last tournaments an ideal send-off at Australian Open, then in Pune, Bangalore, and Dubai, but unfortunately, his run towards the farewell season was stalled as tennis got suspended amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While US Open 2020 is being planned to happen, Paes seems to have no interest in showing up on the professional courts this season because of safety concerns.
“I am done as far as the 2020 season is concerned. I am not playing any tournament till the world is safer. When the coronavirus scare started, I was considering going off to the US to train, just in case the Tour would go on. But Dada (father, Dr Vece Paes) told me not to. And I took his advice. This is a rogue virus. You just don’t know what you are up against,” Leander Paes told The Telegraph.
For the moment, he is not sure about extending his farewell season into the year 2021. “At the moment I am not making any decision. I will keep my options open. I think we are still a long way for global tennis to restart. The decision on whether I will extend “One Last Roar” to 2021 or not will be taken closer towards the end of the year,” he added.
Bronze medalist at 1996 Olympics Leander Paes has yet not decided upon his participation at the 2021 Tokyo Games.
Although social distancing is practised to its fullest in tennis, it is strenuous to carry a safety bubble while playing the sport during the unprecedented times of pandemic. He added, “Tennis naturally has social distancing, like golf, cycling, badminton among others. But the norms have to be followed very strictly. You have seen what happened at Novak’s tournament. Though the ATP has issued dates of some tournaments, players are very concerned.”
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