Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India tennis star Leander Paes is slightly concerned he may not be able to make 100 Grand Slam appearances before retiring. Paes, who last December had announced he’d walk away from professional tennis after the competition of the 2020 season, has so far played 97 Grand Slam matches and the uncertainty surrounding the resumption of the tennis season following the Covid-19 pandemic may not allow the veteran to get to the magical three-figure mark.
Although if Paes doesn’t get there, it’s not like he is going to lose his sleep over it.
“I have played 97 Grand Slams so far and if I play three more, it will be 100 so that moves me. Also getting to the eighth Olympics to make sure India is forever on the top as the most number of Olympics played by a tennis player. That is the benchmark I would like to push. But even if I don’t get there, still I’m happy with what I’ve done and the career I have,” said the winner of 18 majors,” Paes told table tennis player Mudit Dani on his chat show Sportlight.
Paes, 46, is a winner of 18 Grand Slam titles, of which eight are doubles and ten are mixed doubles titles. After opting to turn pro in 1991, Paes, in only his second Olympics appearance, landed a bronze medal in singles competition at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Between 1992 and 2016, he has competed at every Olympics, making him the only Indian to feature in seven Olympics Games. And provided he books his ticket to Tokyo next year, Paes will have a record unlikely to be duplicated for a long time.
“Olympics is still far away. As of now, I find it difficult to believe that sports will start by July or August. Would it start October or November, who knows? But my team and I are very well prepared that when the lockdown opens up, we will revaluate then and look at ‘One Last Roar’ as season whether we should look at 2021 or not,” he said.
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