Veteran Indian tennis player Leander Paes has heaped praise on Roger Federer, admitting that he was amazed to see how the Swiss maestro has 'reinvented' himself to win Grand Slams in the twilight years of his career. Federer had confirmed his participation in next year’s Olympics on Monday.
He may be widely held as the greatest ever to play the sport, but the days of Federer ruling the tennis world is soon coming to a close. However, with speculation about his retirement doing the circles prior to every major tennis tournament, the 38-year-old confirmed his intentions to feature in Tokyo next year, which also means that he will be available for the Australian Open to be held in January.
"This (2020) year's Australian Open is going to be very unique. Don't be surprised if you see Roger in the last couple of days at the Australian Open. He knows he is going to push really hard in the final sprint. What he has been able to do over the last few years in reinventing himself to win Grand Slams. He came a sliver shy of winning a record Wimbledon title. It's amazing what Roger is doing to reinvent himself to win grand slams," Paes said at an event in Mumbai to promote the Australian Open, reported TOI.
Federer, who will turn 39 by the time the Games come around, will hope that he can take home his first Olympic singles title in what will certainly be his last hurray. The Swiss maestro won silver at the London Olympics in 2012 after losing to Britain's Andy Murray and did not feature in Rio because of injury.
Meanwhile, 46-year-old Paes himself expressed hopes of participating in what would be his eighth Olympics in Tokyo — he is the only tennis player to have featured in seven.
"Tokyo (Olympics) is a long way away. As far as I am concerned, I was conceived at the Olympics in 1972 when my parents were there. Every Sunday morning, I used to polish my dad's medal and everything I have dreamt for is to play for the flag of our country, for the people of our country. So, if I am ever called, rest assured I will be there for the country," Paes said.
"I have already got the record for the most number of Olympics played. But I think an eighth Olympics will be India's record," Paes added
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