A Veteran Indian tennis player who has been playing the sport for almost three decades now, Paes has claimed that he was born for the Olympics and would want to represent India in Tokyo 2020. The 46-year-old also stated that he has taken inspiration from his former partner Martina Navratilova.
It would hard to imagine Indian tennis going into the Olympics without their most successful player. Starting his career with the boys singles at the Australian Open back in 1989, Paes hasn’t stopped playing and consequently, winning. His 28-year-old career has seen him winning a whopping 18 Grand Slam doubles titles.
However, with him approaching 50 now, Tokyo Games could very well be the last one and Paes has that at the back of his mind. Though he doesn’t have the 2020 calendar sorted for the time being, Paes pronounced it very strongly that medals have still been inspiring him.
“I will find out in the next couple of days as to what my goals for 2020 are. For me [trophies] are what I play for, they are memories. Each and every one of my 26 finals, 18 Grand Slams, Olympic medal. Medals and trophies are memories that never go.
"For me, rewriting the history books is what I have lived for. I have had a very blessed career, so if I have another year in it, get to play another Olympics, wonderful. If I don’t, still wonderful,” said Paes during the Media Launch of the Australian Open 2020 in Mumbai, reported Scroll.
“As far as I am concerned, I was conceived at the Olympics in 1972, when my parents were there,” said Paes. “I was born for the Olympics. Every Sunday morning after the church, I used to polish my dad’s medal and everything I have dreamt for is to play for our flag and to play for our people so if I am ever called to play for our country, rest assured I will be there,” added the player who won the bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Paes has played alongside some of the best of the game in his prolonged doubles career, about 12 generations of tennis players. And the legend has stated that he has been seeking inspiration from his former partner Martina Navratilova, who won a Grand Slam at 49.
“To have played with Navratilova over three years and to be that close to her over time has helped me in my career, that at 46 I can keep reinventing myself in my training methods, my diet and my fitness. In any professional sport, Martina Navratilova has taught us how physical fitness is a prerequisite.
“For me, Martina Navratilova epitomises the perseverance and the reinvention that an athlete can go through. As a woman in her time, in the 70s and the 80s, where fitness and diet and gym work was not really prevalent, she took it to a new level, she took fitness - as an athlete to levels in tennis that were then seen all across sports, which is quite amazing,” he added.