Leander Paes is one of the greats that the game of tennis has ever seen. He has been such a consistent feature on the ATP Tour for almost three decades now. In his long professional career, he has played alongside many greats of the game and in his own words, has seen about 12 generations of tennis players. His longevity is something to marvel at, and is very reminiscent of Martina Navratilova, with whom he formed a successful mixed double pair.
It still isn’t confirmed whether he’ll actually be on tour next year. Currently ranked world number 91, he has talked about the aspiration of playing for India at the Olympics.
“I will find out in the next couple of days as to what my goals for 2020 are. For me, trophies are what I play for, they are memories. Each and every one of my 26 finals, 18 Grand Slams, Olympic medal. Medals and trophies are memories that never go. For me, rewriting the history books is what I have lived for,” Paes said during the Media Launch of the Australian Open 2020 in Mumbai on Monday.
“I have had a very blessed career, so if I have another year in it, get to play another Olympics, wonderful. If I don’t, still wonderful,” he added. It wasn’t that great of a year for the 46-year old, as he is currently ranked world number 91.
“As far as I am concerned, I was conceived at the Olympics in 1972, when my parents were there,” said Paes. “I was born for the Olympics. Every Sunday morning after the church, I used to polish my dad’s medal and everything I have dreamt for is to play for our flag and to play for our people so if I am ever called to play for our country, rest assured I will be there,” he said. It will be a national record for the number of appearances at the Olympics. Paes, who won the bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games, has seven Olympic appearances for India and hopes he can make that eight.
In his long professional career, he has played alongside many greats of the game and in his own words, has seen about 12 generations of tennis players. His longevity is something to marvel at, and is very reminiscent of Martina Navratilova, with whom he formed a successful mixed double pair.