Tennis legend Leander Paes has said that he aims to reach 20 career Grand Slams by the time he retires. The 43-year-old also said that he will not be partnering up with Andre Begemann anytime soon but will pair up with young Indian players such as Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni.
"I have hit all my targets in a tough year. It's been a rough one. To be able to hit my targets, I am very happy. Now, I will take a couple of weeks off and spend time with my daughter and dad. My benchmark is to get 20 Grand Slams. Once you keep hitting your goals, there is not much to play for. You add something," Leander Paes told PTI on Wednesday, after winning his first round match in Pune Challenger alongside Ramkumar Ramanathan.
He and Ramkumar beat Sidharth Rawat and Anvit Bendre 6-3 6-4 to progress to the quarterfinals.
Paes also revealed that he won't be playing alongside his previous doubles partner Andre Begemann after the pair ended runners-up in two ATP 250 events (St Petersburg and Winston-Salem).
"I am looking at a partner for next year. 20 looks like a nice number. A lot of jumbling has happened this year, if you look at teams, not one team has dominated. There was a lot of mix-up," he said.
Earlier this year, Paes completed his career Grand Slam in mixed doubles by winning the French Open with Swiss great Martina Hingis, taking his overall tally to 18 Grand Slams. But the veteran of six Olympics feels that his aim is to help youngsters and prepare them to win medals at the Olympics.
"I am hungry, passionate about tennis. It's first time I am playing here. Speed of the court is fantastic. Wherever I am playing and I am looking to entertain people and help out youngsters. I am looking to spread how tennis can be a great profession. To create passion for tennis, and if we can do that a bigger group may be playing tennis in four years, maybe in 10 years from now someone can be winning an Olympic medal (for India),” he said.
While saying that it has become 'tricky' while choosing a partner, he wished to continue his association with Ramkumar Ramanathan.
"I could have brought any other regular partner with whom I play on the tour, but to support Ram and play with him was great fun. I played with Saketh in the Davis Cup and it would have been great had I got a chance to play with him here or in the future," he said.
"For me, Ram was an obvious choice as I liked his game style. And it's not only that he follows whatever I ask him to do. There are situations and were even in this game where he asked me to follow a specific style and routine. That's the combination that kept us going," he added.