Leander Paes has ‘sixth sense’, says new doubles partner Adil Shamasdin
Leander Paes’ new doubles partner Adil Shamasdin believes the veteran can still see things on the court that others can’t, and has stated they will continue playing together even after their first round Wimbledon defeat.tennis Updated: Jul 07, 2017 21:51 IST
India’s doubles master Leander Paes can still pull magic out of nowhere and sees shots that other players just don’t see, said his new playing partner Adil Shamasdin.
Paes, 44, has won 18 Grand Slam doubles titles, but is still buzzing with schemes and ideas to win matches, said Canada’s Shamasdin, nine years his esteemed partner’s junior.
Paes got in touch with Shamasdin to play the Challenger-level tournament at Leon in Mexico in March.
“I thought cool, what a great opportunity,” Shamasdin told AFP.
“I gave it a shot, just to say I played with the guy. He’s done so much in the game, so I felt like I could learn from him. We ended up winning.”
They went on to claim the Wimbledon warm-up Challenger title in Ilkley, England.
Their Wimbledon tilt ended in a marathon four-hour 4-6, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/2), 10-8 defeat to Austria’s Julian Knowle and Philipp Oswald in the first round on Thursday.
However, Shamasdin said they intend to keep playing together, starting with the Newport post-Wimbledon grass-court tournament in the United States.
“He has almost like a sixth sense where he can do different things. He tells me to do something and I’m saying, ‘Hey, man, I don’t see that! That’s just you!’“ Shamasdin said of Paes.
“I try not to get all hyped up with what he does, because he can definitely come out with some magic. We talk a lot about strategy and positions. When the time gets tough, he’ll suddenly do something, and that’s from his experience.
“Seeing what he does in certain situations, I can use that in my game. He has energy and an aura going for him.
“Even outside the tennis court, he’s doing his thing. The guy’s a legend in the game. I try not to get in his way with all that stuff. But it’s working. We have a good chemistry.”
Canadian tennis on a high
Shamasdin is on a career high, hitting 41 in the doubles rankings, and accepts he is a late bloomer at the age of 35.
“Everybody’s playing well into their 30s now,” he said, with the game still dominated by Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Shamasdin said the rise of compatriots 2016 Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic and 2014 runner-up Eugenie Bouchard had been a huge boost for the sport in Canada.
“Kids and even adults watching on TV get hyped up watching Canadians,” the Davis Cup player said.
“It’s a great time for Canadian tennis right now. There’s a lot of good juniors coming up and doing really well and that’s partially due to those two.
“We have a lot of immigrants coming and a lot of them enjoy tennis and will hopefully go and play in public parks,” said Toronto-born Shamasdin, whose parents emigrated from Kenya.
He is scheduled to play in the Wimbledon mixed doubles but a lingering back spasm problem puts his appearance with Maria Sanchez of the United States in the hands of the doctors.
“Wimbledon is one of those tournaments and an experience that you don’t have anywhere else,” said Shamasdin, who reached the 2016 quarter-finals with Britain’s Jonathan Marray.
“You feel the energy, the atmosphere, how much history has been made here.”
First Published: Jul 07, 2017 21:51 IST