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Leander Paes Says He Has Already Played his Last Olympics if Tokyo Games are Not Held in 2021

Leander Paes (Photo Credit: @Leander)

Leander Paes (Photo Credit: @Leander)

Leander Paes said he wanted to be remembered as someone 'who has made a difference' when he retires from the sport of tennis.

India's veteran tennis player Leander Paes said he was not going to wait for another Olympics if this one is cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic.

At the end of 2019, Paes announced that 2020 was going to be his last year in professional tennis and called it 'The Last Roar'. However, Covid-19 spilt water on his plans of a grand goodbye.

Tokyo Olympics were meant to be held this year from July-August but due to coronavirus, it has been postponed to the same time slot next year. However, with vaccine still being a far-fetched idea, it is unknown whether Olympics can be held in 2021 too.

"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 told Purav Raja in an Instagram chat on Sunday.

Paes has spent 29 years on the tour since he turned professional in 1991 and has had various experiences, both good and bad. He shared one of his worst experiences from a tournament in China in 2001.

"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 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."

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Looking back at his journey, he spoke about his two doubles partners he has seen the most amount of success - Mahesh Bhupathi and Martina Hingis.

While he was all praise for Bhupathi's backhand, he picked Rohan Bopanna's serve if he had to choose between the two.

"God Mahesh had killer backhand as an all 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 explained.

He then described the difference between Hingis and Navratilova and how he adapted with the two.

"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."

Asked how he wants to bid his goodbye, Paes said, "I want to be known as someone who has made a difference."