India has a population of over 1.2 billion people but has struggled for years to produce quality sportsmen and women who are capable of winning gold medals at the Olympics. The country has had to rely on a couple of names over the years and one of them is tennis ace Leander Paes.
Paes is now 42 years old and definitely near the end of his career but the evergreen Paes wants to have one more shot at an Olympic medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The tennis ace who has a great record in doubles and mixed doubles events has stated that if he partners with Rohan Bopanna in the men’s doubles, then India has a great chance of winning a medal.
Paes has had his fair share of controversy in Indian tennis and his falling out with former partner Mahesh Bhupathi has been well documented. Paes also requested to play with Bopanna in the London Olympics but Bopanna declined the invitation and former partner Bhupathi had also made it clear that he would no longer partner with Paes.
In a statement, Leander Paes said “Pretty obvious in the men’s doubles that Rohan and myself have the best chance of going out there and winning the medal. Rohan has been playing some wonderful tennis, he has been playing with (Florin) Mergea and has done well. With Rohan and myself playing doubles for India, I think we have a great chance of grabbing a medal.”
Paes has already won an Olympic medal for the country in singles competition and now wants to have a crack at the doubles and mixed doubles events. He would like to partner with Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles event but so far there has been no confirmation from either Bopanna or Mirza about their willingness to play with Paes during Rio 2016.
Paes currently plays mixed doubles with Martina Hingis and the two have had a great run in 2015 winning 3 grand slams. Sania Mirza partners with Martina Hingis in women’s doubles and they have had a phenomenal run in 2015. Paes remains hopeful that he will be selected for yet another Olympics which will give him the record of being the first tennis player to compete in the most number of Olympic events.
Paes has won nine mixed-doubles grand slams and is arguably the greatest tennis player to have represented India.