By Debayan Mukherjee
Bogmalo (Goa) March 14 (IANS) Leander Paes is constantly reminded at home that he can continue for another year, his father Vece Paes said here on Saturday.
Terming it as “The Last Roar”, Olympics bronze medallist Leander is in the last year of his professional tennis career.
The 46-year-old won the do-or-die doubles tie with Rohan Bopanna in India’s Davis Cup Qualifiers against Croatia in Zagreb. After their win, Sumit Nagal was routed by Marin Cilic, which led to India losing the tie 1-3.
With the triumph, Leander extended his Davis Cup record of most doubles victories to 45 in what is possibly his final appearance in the competition.
“I keep telling Leander that he can continue for another year. He always laughs when I tell him that,” Vece Paes told IANS here.
“He is still in fine touch and I know how much he wants to represent the country in the Olympics (later this year),” Vece Paes added.
Leander also finished runner-up in his final ATP Tour match on home soil at the Bengaluru Open.
Indian tennis great Mahesh Bhupathi had also backed his long-standing doubles partner to continue “as long as he can”.
Paes was terrific with his returns in Zagreb and looked in fine touch.
Leander won India a singles Olympic medal in 1996, landed 18 Grand Slam doubles titles — eight in men’s doubles and 10 in mixed doubles — and lasted all of seven Olympic appearances, the highest ever by a tennis player.
By lifting the Wimbledon mixed doubles trophy in 2010, Leander became only the second man after Rod Laver to win a Grand Slam in three different decades.
In April 2018, Leander fought like a war hero as he and Bopanna combined to go past the Chinese pair of Mao-Xin Gong and Ze Zhang in the doubles rubber of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I round two underway in Tianjin, China. India were down 0-2 and needed to bounce back.