Leander Paes hits back : No one can point a finger at me, I have achieved everything

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© Leander Paes Twitter

Leander Paes hits back : No one can point a finger at me, I have achieved everything

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SportsCafe Desk


Indian tennis is a hot mess currently, and it is getting murkier with each passing day. In the latest act of mud-slinging, Leander Paes has hit back at his “highly jealous” competitors, read Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza, who are trying to ruin his reputation and publicly present him as a “bad man”.

"In this part of my career, most of my competitors are highly jealous. They might not understand what it takes to win 18 Grand Slams and play seven Olympics. Some competitors, you give them 10 life times, they will still not be able to achieve that. Instead of working hard, they want to knock me down," Paes told PTI in an interview.

"They want to ruin my reputation by doing ulterior things, so that the perception of the public is that Leander is a bad man. It takes a whole lifetime to build a reputation and it takes one second to ruin it," he said.

After the recently concluded Davis Cup tie against Spain, Paes started the controversy by saying that India “didn't put the best team forward” in the mixed doubles event at the Rio Olympics. Soon, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna took to Twitter to respond to Paes' sharp remarks as the mud-slinging continued in Indian tennis. Mirza has labeled Paes a 'toxic person', while Bopanna insisted that criticizing others is his ploy to stay in the news. Paes, though, has refrained from replying back, at least immediately.

"I am a human being. But I don't deal with it now.

"In this modern age of social media, I understand there will be some negativity. The people who are true and honest, whether they are good with me or not, I respect them.

"Few people are always trying to tarnish my reputation. There are some competitors out there, who are highly jealous of what I have achieved. Instead of working hard, to achieve it themselves, they realise, they can't to that quantum, so hence, let's ruin his reputation. One person will put one story here, one there and build perception," he said, reported PTI.

Paes insisted that it's better to ignore the 'haters'. He said, "Not to worry about haters. You play your game, you run in your lane, don't enter into others' lane. I will write my name in the history books. That is fruit of your hard work.

"People believe it or not, media write or not, but the intelligent people, the knowledgeable people will see history books and I have written my name there many times and will write many more times. That can't change, you can't forge a history book and you can't change history books.

"In this modern age of living in limelight, everybody wants to be a hero. People will bark, let them bark, they will look bad themselves. I will run my race. Till a junior comes and says 'Lee I am beating you all the time', till I am winning Grand Slams, I will continue to play. I had to earn it and others will also have to earn it.

"I have been very successful in personal life but there have been a few people who were a bit greedy. Being gentle is a premium. Sometimes you have to be tough, especially in India. When you get to a position, people want to take advantage of gentleness. I am learning that in life you have to be tough with people. My conscience is clear.”

Paes has also revealed that he is spending over Rs 3 crore a year to play men's doubles and mixed doubles. The 43-year-old insists that it is more lucrative for him to stop playing tennis and start doing commentary and motivational speaking.

"I actually lose money playing men's doubles and mixed doubles. The cost of travel with my coaches, every year when I sign up in January, I know I am going to be spending 250,000 to 300,000 dollars a year. I am spending over Rs 3 crore a year. We don't have any organisation that pays for us and there is no guaranteed salary.

"At the end of the month, you have a certain money in your pocket even if you had an ankle sprain or you were unwell. But there is no guarantee I will get back my money. The disparity in singles and doubles prize money is huge. And in doubles you share the prize money.

"If I stop playing and stay in India and start doing commentary, motivational speaking and start my academy which I will start when I am finished, it is much more lucrative for me. I do fashion clothing, own a clothing company in the last two years. So If I stop playing tennis, One -- I take away that Rs 3 crore expense, plus I am at home. It's much more lucrative. I am not even breaking even now. If I win, 2-3 Grand Slams, then only I make money. I am playing because I love to play," Paes added.

Paes has also assured that his rankings will improve drastically next year.

"No matter what people say, I have earned the right to play my tennis.

"No one can point a finger at me. I have achieved everything. Next year you watch (how the rankings improve)," he told PTI before signing off.

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