I think the important part is to put the best team for the country in Davis Cup, says Leander Paes

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I think the important part is to put the best team for the country in Davis Cup, says Leander Paes

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SportsCafe Desk

06/11/2018

Leander Paes, who has been included in the squad for the Asian Games 2018, insisted that India needs to send its best team to the Davis Cup in order to achieve positive results. Paes has also added that he missed the clay season because he needs to maximize his performance to achieve his goals.

Leander Paes, who missed the last two editions of the Asian games, has been included in the squad for this edition to be played in Indonesia this time around. He insisted that Asian Games has been an important event for him and the team would work on the combinations as they get closer to the games. He thought that the new generation of tennis players have been promising and praised Yuki Bhambri for his impressive performance in the last year. Yuki Bhambri was the only player in the singles category from India to have played in the recently concluded French Open.

“The last one I played was in Doha in 2006 and this year’s Asian Games in Indonesia will be a new challenge. We have a full strength team and as we get closer to the Games, we will work on the combinations and pairings. We have got youngsters like Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan apart from Rohan (Bopanna) and Divij (Sharan). Among the girls, Ankita Raina and Prarthna Thombare have shown good form in the recent months. Having Yuki Bhambri in the singles would have been great but aiming for the US Open main draw is important as well. It is always a tough decision to balance and not easy to decide. For me, Asian Games is a important event since I am not playing the full calendar. I have cut down the number of tournaments and will be playing in two tournaments this season. I will be playing in Wimbledon before the Asian Games,” Leander Paes said in an interview with Indian Express. 

Just a week shy of turning 45, Paes revealed that he has been working hard to keep himself fit. Age is not on his side when it comes to the Olympics Games in 2020. Hence, it still remains uncertain if he would be able to compete in the next Olympics. However, Paes insisted that he has set himself little goals which he would like to achieve before retiring from the game and asserted that Tokyo Olympics would be a big goal for him.  

“At this point of my career, I have to enhance my own training to keep staying fitter, younger and stronger in terms of my game. It is important for me to keep pushing my body and fitness levels and keep learning new methods of training. That was the reason I visited Abhinav Bindra targeting Performance Centre on Saturday.

"Over the last 30 years in my career, I have been able to master the mental game of hard perseverance. For me, it is very important to stay at peace mentally after such a long career and able to target smaller goals. There was a reason I missed the whole clay court season. I have to maximize my performance in whatever few goals I have. At this point, it is very hard to set new goals. I try to figure new targets and achieve these goals. After you win 15-16 Grand Slams or play in 6-7 Olympics, they just become numbers for you mentally. I play because I am passionate about playing for the country and playing my tennis. I enjoy the lifestyle of it… About Tokyo Olympics, that is the big goal. But that too will come after the small goals. It is still 2018 and there is 2019 and 2020 to come,” he said. 

Last year, Paes was dropped from the Davis Cup tie against Uzbekistan, but he returned for the tie against China and notched up a record win. On being asked about his comeback and changes in the Davis Cup he said, “I think the important part is to put the best team for the country in Davis Cup. Records and individual performance are the byproducts of such a longevity in this sport. World record happened not because of an year or two, it came after three decades. And Davis Cup is about putting the best team forward for the country. I am able to help the team to win like in China, where me and Rohan won the doubles after being 0-2 down in the tie. Playing with Rohan was great fun . And that too in the new format where you play the matches in two day as compared to earlier format of three days. Playing three matches in a day is not easy for the team too. As one of the senior most players, it is my role to motivate the other players and to bring the best out of all of us.” 

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