Rohan and I make the best pair for Rio, insists Paes

Rohan and I make the best pair for Rio, insists Paes
Leander Paes on Tuesday reposed his faith on the All India Tennis Association (AITA) for selecting the best team for the Rio Olympics. He also felt that he and Rohan Bopanna were the best choice in men's doubles for the mega-event.

Paes, who had just completed a career Slam in mixed doubles by winning the title at the French Open with Martina Hingis last week, said he was humbled by his achievement of winning his 18th Grand Slam trophy.

His participation in the Olympic Games, however, continues to draw some intrigue but Paes was stoic in his response.“I am very confident that AITA and the selection committee will speak to the right individuals and will send the best doubles teams to Rio. I have full faith in them and AITA president Mr Anil Khanna,” he said.

“‘Both Rohan and I are playing at a very high level. We both reached the quarterfinals of men’s doubles in French Open. My career speaks for itself and Rohan has been playing very well in the last 18 months. We both are at our peak. Without a shadow of doubt, Rohan and I make for the best team for a medal at Olympics.

Paes admitted it was important for him to win the French Open trophy keeping in view his preparation for the Olympic Games as well his selection into the India squad.

“I have had a tough period before the French Open. I had to take care of my daughter, who wasn’t well.

“It left me very limited time to prepare for the French Open but thanks to my team I was able to do that. I knew once I made the men’s doubles quarterfinals, Rohan and I would get the direct entry in the Games.

“The French Open was so much important for me otherwise I would not have been standing where I am,” said Paes.

Paes also agreed that none of the players would like to relive what happened during the 2012 London Games. “We definitely don't want a repeat of London,” he said.

Paes now has equalled the record of Martina Navratilova’s 10 mixed doubles trophies and is geared up for more.

“I dedicate it to my father, Dr Vece Paes. Every trophy that I win is for India and I am proud that I have this opportunity to represent India in the seventh Olympics which is a record,” he said.

Paes  also recalled his meeting with Muhammad Ali during the Atlanta Games. “He was my idol. When I was 5, I used to dress up like Muhammad Ali and even tweaked his few catch phrases to suit me.

"After I had won the bronze at Atlanta, I remember meeting Ali. His voice was a bit weak but he told me that it is your job to inspire each and every young child in your country. He was right. It is my job to motivate that they can also be champions," he said.

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