In an India where new cellular phone and car models pop up every other day, there is still no replacement for a 36-year-old who refuses to give up.
“There is rare joy in pushing the limits, busting norms and to keep proving that age is just a number,” says miracle worker Leander Adrian Paes sounding a bit out of breath after a gym session on the eve of his quest for a tenth Grand Slam title. “ More than winning, that’s what drives me on.”
“To keep playing at this level demands constant adaptation, a level of discipline that brooks no compromise and the hunger to keep going out there and keep busting muscle and limb day after day, week in, week out. If people think it’s a picnic, they are delusional,” Paes tells Hindustan Times.
Paes’ first outing at Wimbledon two decades ago in the junior boys had seen him reach the doubles quarters along with a nondescript first round singles ouster. “Back then if I would have been told I would still be playing the game, let alone figure in the closing stages of the tournament a full 20 years later, I would have been really amused. But hey, I like it,” he laughs.
As of now his fans can expect to see Paes go on till the 2012 London Olympics. “No way am I quitting soon dude, I am having fun out here. This my life and, frankly, I love it.”