If people had their way, Leander Paes would not only be a movie star but also part of TV dance and reality shows, a brand ambassador for beer, and a member of parliament.
“There's a lot of goodwill for sportsmen and many people approach us to be part of projects which, at times, are bizarre. As far as movies are concerned, who doesn't want to be a star? Over the last 14 years I have had several film offers. But right now, tennis is the priority and I have no concrete offer with a script that's enticing enough,” Paes told HT when quizzed about his supposed involvement in a movie. “I have not shot for anything as of now though cinema does interest me greatly.”
The eleven Grand Slam winner goes on to admit that the entertainment industry has its allure, but thats for the future, “I firmly believe that people cannot be categorized into slots. There are myriad facets to each personality. But, I can act anytime in my life while top-notch tennis is possible only for the next few years.”
Paes confirmed that he had attended Anupam Kher’s acting classes and that the veteran actor had told him that he had the goods to make it big on the silver screen.
Paes' wife Rhea also adds that anything other than tennis is just not on right now: “At the moment Leander's focused on his sport. He'll retire four to five years from now. At that time there is no telling just where his interest will lie.”
Beyond tennis Paes is likely to dabble in entertainment, sports management, motivational talks and politics. “I also intend to create a top-notch sports science facility to groom the next generation of Indian athletes,” he assures. Right now, however, no plans have been firmed up.
Paes rises to seventh
Paes has risen to seventh spot in the ATP doubles’ ranking, displacing Mahesh Bhupathi in the latest list. Bhupathi lost a spot to slip to eighth. Sania Mirza slipped to 59th.