AT 35, Leander Paes may not be getting any younger but having added the US Open mixed doubles title to his cupboard, the Indian ace is just not interested in retirement talks.
Paes partnered Cara Black and the Indo-Zimbabwean scratch pair struck gold in their maiden Grand Slam by capturing the mixed doubles title last night, taming Britain's Jamie Murray and American Liezel Huber 7-6 (8/6), 6-4.
Savouring every moment of it, Paes said age was not an issue with him and he would go on as long as he enjoys it.
"It's fairly simple for me. If I wake up 31 days in a row in the morning and I feel like I don't enjoy this game, I'll stop on the 32nd day. That's always been the way for me," Paes said in the post-match interview.
The Indian ace said he woke up with a purpose and was happy to get his hand to the title, after missing it twice in the past.
"You know, it was in the back of my mind that I hadn't won this one. I've been in two finals here. I was match point up in one of them with Lisa Raymond many years ago, and today I woke up this morning with a purpose.
"I woke up really fired up, and when I came out to practice, I just said to Cara, you know..."
Paes heaped praise on Cara and said they would continue playing together.
"We actually talked about it before we even started this week, that we're going to play together all of next year. For me, no matter what the result this week would have been, I would stick with Cara and play with her through the year," he said.
"Today, really, I think she won the match for us. At 4-6 in the tie-break, she made an unbelievable reflex volley to break the guy's serve at 5-6... I think at that stage, Cara really broke back and won that set for us. And to play with her is a treat, you know.
"I think that being our first week, we figured each other's games out. She knows she's got to do everything. I just have to sit and watch," Paes quipped. "That's a lie," Cara, sitting besides, retorted. Looking at the future, Paes said, "I've won the Australian twice. I've won Wimbledon twice. Never won the French. I've been in the finals there. That's the only Grand Slam I haven't won yet.”
Cara too returned the compliment and said playing with Paes was a great experience.
"Leander was great. we just got down that one break and that mini break in the tie-break, but —yeah, it was — it was all reaction, you know," she said.