India’s experienced tennis star, Leander Paes is currently 44 years old. He has 18 Grand Slams titles and one historic Olympic bronze to his name. The Atlanta Olympic bronze medalist said, its quite difficult to set new aims at the age of 44. But i try to match the requirements needed by the modern Tennis, which is now more a game of power.
The players who used to play with Paes are now serving as a coach. His juniors like Somdev Devvarman have retired. Inspite of age being a factor, the Olympic medalist is still hungry for more titles. Read: Big Tennis stars in doubt for Australian Open. Rafa Nadal Doubtful, Serena misses out.
“For me off season means, focussing and replenishing my skill, energy, weight and reinventing my game. Majority of players are more than 6 feet tall, and are comparetively more stronger. You have less time for attacking the opposition with your shots, because the ball travells at a very high speed,” Leander Paes said.
“Right now I am going through a beautiful part of my tennis career, where I don’t need to prove anything. To be able to still control the ball to be still able to command the court, it still motivates me.”
The legendary player hinted that he wants to develop into a role model.
“I enjoy the game. I have achieved everything, I wanted to. Now I am playing for myself. I want to motivate people around the world that if Leander can do something even through hard and tough times, If I can keep that health and fitness and happiness about my life, then everybody else can.
“We live in times, where life is very hard. There is terrorism everywhere, there is poverty, the cost of living is rising, lots of scams going on but you need good role models out there to show that life is tough but can be good too,” he said.
When asked if he still wants to play one more Asian Games and the Olympics, he replied: “That does not push me. I play, because I have fun. If that comes along, wonderful.”
Paes said he indeed has become stronger, this year.
“I have also worked on trying to re-invent a certain style of play. It did not work in Pune but at the end of last year for three weeks, we were undefeated. It was at Challenger level and now have got to move it up at the ATP level.”