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Paes hopes for mixed doubles Gold in Doha, mulls playing singles

Written by: Staff
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New York, Sep 10 (UNI) Fresh from his maiden US Open doubles title triumph, tennis ace Leander Paes oozed confidence of winning the Asian Games Gold medal in mixed doubles partnering Sania Mirza and revealed plans to play in singles as well, if body allows.

Talking to NDTV after he and his Czech partner Martin Damm won the US Open title, Paes pointed out he and Sania had won the Bronze in the last Asian Games and promised a better show in Doha later this year.

''I was surprised the other day when Sania came up to me in the gym and asked 'You are playing mixed double with me in the Asian Games, aren't you?' ''We won the Bronze in the last Asian Games and there is lot of history in the partnership. I enjoy playing with her, for she is a wonderful talent. There is no reason why we can't come away with the Gold. I'm in good nick and she is also playing very well,'' Paes explained.

Paes also admitted that he was toying with the idea of playing singles again in Doha if his body allows.

''I love to play singles in tournaments like Davis Cup or Asian Games. And while 2008 Beijing will be my fifth Olympics, this would be my fifth Asian games as well. I'm not quite sure about playing singles in Doha but it's not out of the mind either. Doha is still a few months away and I'll have to see if my body is ready for that,'' he elaborated.

On his partnership with Damm, the Indian Davis Cup captain was quite optimistic.

''We have just qualified for the Masters Cup in Shanghai and Martin is a wonderful partner, a solid and hardworking player.

''I have been lucky with the partners I choose and I enjoy playing with Martin,'' he added.

Talking about the US Open final in which he and Damm stunned second seeded Swedish-Belarussian pair of Jonas Bjorkman and Max Mirnyi 6-7 (5/7), 6-4, 6-3, Paes said it was not exactly a stroll in the park.

''We knew before that match that it's going to be a tough game against Max and Jonas, two of the best ambassadors of the game, especially in doubles. We expected a tough job against their big serve. Max in fact was serving at 140 mph and it was almost impossible to get a racquet but fortunately we managed to thwart them and grew better and sharper,'' he analysed.

UNI XC AY PDS KN1733

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