Leander Paes has served Indian Tennis with great distinction for over 20 years. Having become the first Indian Tennis player to win an individual medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Paes has achieved plenty of laurels in his playing career.
Having won multiple grand slams in men’s doubles and mixed doubles, the 43-year-old veteran has shown no signs of slowing down and is targeting 2017 as the year for even more glory.
Speaking at an event in Kolkata, Paes said, “I am playing for the history books now. 2017 will be about world records. I have a couple of records I want to chase. That is what keeps me going at 43 because, believe me, it is not so much fun working out for 30 years. But now I am looking forward to off-season training.”
Paes enjoyed a remarkable 2016.He completed the career Grand Slam in mixed doubles by winning the French Open with Martina Hingis and created a world record by appearing in seven consecutive Olympics, the only Tennis player to do so.
“My showcase is complete. 2016 was about winning that elusive French Open title and creating an Indian record for the Olympics. Hope some day an Indian breaks it,” Paes stated.
Paes had formed a formidable partnership with Czech player Radek Stepanek, having won the Australian Open in 2012 and the US Open in 2013. Speaking on his partnership, the Indian Tennis player said it has been difficult to find a doubles partner since their split in 2015.
“It has been difficult to find a doubles partner after Radek (Stepanek) with whom I played for three years and won Grand Slams. The game has changed, the balls have changed and now, often you find champion doubles teams playing from the back. Not serve and volley anymore.”
When asked about what has been his secret to his long playing career, Paes attributed it to Martina Navratilova, with whom he won the Australian Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles title. “My friend Navratilova says you always need to adapt. I have played with 10 generations of Indians in the Davis Cup. This keeps me young,” he said.