Veteran India tennis player Leander Paes has reiterated that Tokyo Olympics will be his last ever appearance at the Summer Games and should the postponed event be cancelled next year, he won’t wait for the next edition.Also Read - India's Schedule at Tokyo Olympics 2020, Day 6: All You Need to Know
Paes had announced in 2019 that 2020 will be his final year as a professional player but with the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc, the sports calendar this year has been thrown out of the window. The Tokyo Olympics have been postponed to 2021 but there are already murmurs that should an issue arise again, the Games will be cancelled rather than rescheduled again. Also Read - Indian Archer Deepika Kumari Braces For One Last Chance at Tokyo Olympics 2020
“If the Tokyo Olympics is cancelled then I have already played my last Olympics in Rio. I am not going to wait for the next Olympics,” Paes was quoted as saying by The Times of India. Also Read - LIVE Tokyo Olympics 2020 Live Score And Updates, Day 5: Lovlina Borgohain Reaches Quarterfinals, India Beat Spain in Men's Hockey; Shooters Disappoint Once Again
Paes is one of the most successful doubles players in Grand Slam history having won 18 titles so far. He struck successful partnerships with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi, US tennis legend Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis among others.
When asked to chose between Hingis and Navratilova, the 47-year-old went in favour of the Swiss.
“Hingis complimented my style and I could play my natural game with her. She allowed me to be the leader and I could just take over the net. Navratilova, on the other hand, led me through and always guided me. She was the leader in our team,” he said.
If he was to choose between Bhupathi’s backhand and Rohan Bopanna’s serve, Paes would go with the latter.
“God Mahesh had killer backhand as an ad court player, it was world class but if I had to choose between the two I would definitely go for Rohan’s serve. His serve is one of the best I have seen on tour and it’s a weapon,” he said.
Paes, who is targeting a record eighth appearance at the Olympics, also revealed the worst conditions he has encountered during a tournament.
“I remember we played China in a city called Lang Fang in 2001. It was mid-February and it was snowing outside. Though we played in an indoor court, they had turned off the heater saying that it was broken. On top of everything we were not even given proper food during the tie. I had asked for some fried rice and got some snake meat instead. It was definitely a nightmare for me,” he recalled.