Indian tennis star Leander Paes, who is set to make his record seventh Olympics appearance today, said on Friday that he arrived late in Rio because he was playing the World Tennis Tournament. The 43-year-old also added that he had informed Rohan Bopanna and his team about his late arrival.
The veteran tennis star reached the Olympics Village on Thursday and his late arrival had caused a lot of rumours about his partnership with doubles partner Rohan Bopanna. Paes practised with Bopanna on Thursday evening and revealed that he had informed the team about his late arrival at Rio.
"Look, we all knew about our schedule. We discussed all that with coach Zeeshan Ali during Davis Cup tie in Chandigarh last month. He (Ali) was well aware that I was playing World Team event and only be here after that. So the issue of my being here should not have been raised," Paes said on Friday, reported DNA.
Paes and Bopanna last played together in the Davis Cup last month and had won the match in straight-sets against South Korea to help India win the tie. The 1996 Olympic bronze medallist was playing in the World Team Tennis for Washington Castles before arriving in Brazil and said that he came late because he was winning.
What is more important to play or to practice?."
"What is more important to play or to practice?" asked Paes
"Obviously, to play… I was playing and winning so I was not here to practice. And they (Bopanna or other India players) came early because they lost early. It was certainly not because they were here to play together.
“Anyway, I just want to focus on the job I'm here for. I have given my sweat for India in last 28 years and I don't need to prove it to anyone," was how Paes explained his absence, reported DNA.
Just before the opening ceremony of the Games, Leander Paes also took to Twitter to express his sadness in the way a section media has been reporting stories about him.
I am disappointed and feel sad by the baseless suggestions in a section of the media and especially (cont) https://t.co/NhR7vVkSXf— Leander Paes (@Leander) August 5, 2016
Paes and Bopanna will be in action later today in the men’s doubles with the duo scheduled to face Polish pair of Marcin Matkowski and Lukas Kubot in the opening round.
"We're up against Polish pair of Lukasz Kubot-Marcin Matkowski in the first round and they are