Leander Paes has injured the index finger on his right hand and has taken the week off. The injury is not serious. “I hope to be fit for the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup in China,” Leander, currently in Goa, said on Saturday.
The Masters Cup will see the world’s best eight pairs in action. Paes and partner Martin Damm qualified for the tournament on the basis of their performances in 2006, the highlight of which was the US Open title.
The season-ending event is one honour which has eluded Leander. The first time, at Hartford in November 1997, Leander and Mahesh Bhupathi lost in the final.
Leander had to face disappointment last year too. “It would be nice if Damm and I could win it this time, but I am also very excited about the Doha Asian Games,” said Leander.
Technically, this will be Leander’s fourth Asiad, as he missed the 1998 edition in Bangkok due to an injury. In 2002, in addition to success in the team event and doubles, he had won a bronze medal with Sania Mirza in mixed doubles.
However, what will now be watched with interest is whether or not Leander is ready for the Asian Hopman Cup to be held in Hyderabad from November 23. Top men and women players from Asia, Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Japan, India, Uzbekistan and China will be competing in the event.
The format of the competition is such it involves singles and mixed doubles the same day. Sources said if Leander was not fit for the Hopman Cup, Rohan Bopanna would get the nod. The second nomination in the team is Sania Mirza, as this is the only world tennis team event which has a mixed doubles format.
There is more bad news as Prakash Amritraj, nominated by AITA for the Asiad, has aggravated his wrist injury.