Navratilova inspires Paes to keep playing

Promoting 'Brand Leander' at a programme here today, the 37-year-old, who clinched Australian Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles partnering Navratilova in 2003, said the former World number one Czech had taught him how to keep the mind young.

"Martina has been my favourite partner till date and she has taught me that age is no barrier. She has taught me about life, about skills, about diet, lifestyle and above all how to keep the mind young," Paes, a 12-time Grand Slam winner, said hailing the legendary 54-year-old.

Paes was honoured with the Young Leaders Forum Outstanding Young Achievers' Award instituted by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

"This is a sport where the real challenge comes in playing against opponents who are 10-15 years younger. It takes a lot of hard work," he said.

Leander said that the main force which drives legendary sportpersons like Sachin Tendulkar and his own partner Mahesh Bhupathi going is their mental strength.
"Age is nothing but a number. I like to reinvent myself, my talent and my lifestyle to keep going strong at the highest stage. Brand Leander is about staying young and that is what I am propagating through my tennis," he said.

Gearing up for a packed schedule, Paes said he was really looking forward to next year's Olympics, which would be his sixth appearance at the sporting extravaganza.
"My next tournament is the Spanish Open in Madrid for which I will leave tomorrow night. Then I have Italian Open followed by the French Open. Mahesh and I have set a few goals for 2011 starting with the Chennai Open and went on getting back to No 1 in March.

"I am excited about Olympics, it's my sixth Olympics and the first time I will be playing only on grasscourt (Wimbledon). It will be a real joy to play on grass in Wimbledon where I have lot of good memories," he said.

Paes also joined in the chorus, demanding the country's highest civilian honour- the Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar.

"Sachin is a great cricketer a thorough gentleman. I more than support others who have demanded Bharat Ratna for him."

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