'Leander Paes wants to beat Krishnan's Davis Cup record'

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Kolkata, July 22: Indian tennis icon Leander Paes aspires to win not only a second Olympics medal but also obliterate the Ramanathan Krishnan's Davis Cup record of most singles win for India. The 43-year-old legend is preparing for his record seventh appearance at Rio next month.

"He has a few goals ahead of him, and one of them is to win a doubles medal in the Olympics. The other two are winning the World Doubles Championship and to get past Ramanathan Krishnan's most (50) singles win," his father Dr. Vece Paes told PTI.

'Leander Paes wants to beat Krishnan's Davis Cup record'

Asked that Leander does not play singles anymore, Paes senior said,"Yes, it's been a long time, but he's is a man of records. He sets his goals. He wanted to play singles at the Davis Cup in Chandigarh, as it was a dead rubber. But eventually he pulled out so that his focus is firmly on Olympic. He hopes to play singles again, he is two shy of equalling Krishnan's feat."

Leander has 48 singles wins apart from 42 doubles victories for a Davis Cup tally of 90 wins. Ramanathan Krishnan enjoyed 50 singles wins and 19 doubles victories. Leander had come close to winning a second in the doubles with his partner Mahesh Bhupathi in Athens-2004.

But it only remained a dream after the duo lost in a draining three-hour 58-minute battle to Croats Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic. Dr Paes feels Leander, who holds the record of most number of Olympic appearances by a tennis player in the world, has tactically matured since then.

"He used to be very aggressive. Now he's calm, very calculative and tactically matured. If you have noticed, he hardly gets into any showdown," the 1972 Olympic bronze medalist in hockey said.

The winner of 18 Grand Slam titles had to deal with uncertainty in yet another controversial build up but Leander always said he and Rohan Bopanna make the best doubles pair.

Having got the qualification by virtue of his world number 10 ranking, Bopanna preferred Saketh Myneni over Leander as his doubles partner before the AITA intervention cleared hurdles for the six-time Olympian's road to Rio.

"Leander is a pro for last 23 years and one who understands the politics of the game. It's time to put aside your personal differences for the country. Playing for the country is way beyond any personal ego or differences."  

Bopanna's apparent logic was that his style of play was not compatible with the senior pro for whom the service would be a matter of concern.

"Rohan is also a professional player and he knows well how to adjust and adapt to a particular style. I'm just happy that they're playing together. We'll have the best doubles team in Rio," he added.

"It's going to be tough as the world's best would be out there. But they would have a chance. He's got a better partner this time. But having said that Vishnu played really well (in London 2012). We can hope for a medal," he said.

On the challenges an athlete face at this age, Dr Paes said, "It's not tough as it appears. His style of play is something that he stays injury free. It's based on his effective hand-eye and coordination. It all lies in his mindset, and his goals that keep him going." 

PTI

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