By Sandip Sikdar
New Delhi, Sep 19:
Leander Paes, one of the greatest tennis players India has produced, might retire after the 2016 Rio Olympics if he does not perform well.
Leander’s father Vece Paes said that the tennis star is quite focussed on qualifying and playing the Olympics next year and his future will depend on his performance at the mega sporting event.
“If he does well at the Olympics then there would be reason for him to play longer. If he does not do too well at the Olympics, then the chances are that he would probably retire,” the elder Paes told IANS in an interview.
“But that is his choice! We have not really discussed it. He is working on his game this year and then we go to next year and then we will see what happens.”
Vece, who was a hockey player and was also part of the bronze medal winning Indian team at the 1972 Munich Olympics, said that his son wants to play in both men’s and mixed doubles in the Brazilian metropolis in 2016.
“He hopes to play in the 2016 Rio Olympics with Rohan Bopanna in men’s doubles and with Sania Mirza in mixed doubles. That’s the plan so far,” said Vece.
If Leander plays in Rio de Janeiro, it would be his seventh Olympics since playing for the first time at the 1992 Barcelona Games. The 42-year-old is the only Indian to win an Olympic medal in tennis — a men’s singles bronze from the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Last time at the 2012 London Olympics, Leander partnered Vishnu Vardhan in men’s doubles and Sania in mixed.
“Basically he has got to see out this year and then he has got another four or five tournaments because he is short of ranking points in men’s doubles. So that will take him to the end of the year,” said Vece.
“Then he has got the IPTL (International Premier Tennis League) at the end of the year. From January to August he will be focussing on picking up points to qualify for the Olympics.”
2015 has been a great year for the Indian tennis legend. He won three Grand Slam mixed doubles titles — Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open — all with Swiss great Martina Hingis. (IANS)