NZ tie to be Paes' swansong affair?

AITA wants veteran to retire

NZ tie to be Paes' swansong affair?

 Is it time for Leander Paes to hang up his tennis racquet? The All India Tennis Association (AITA) secretary-general Hironmoy Chatterjee thinks so, and has spoken to the 43-year-old doubles exponent on the matter.

Chatterjee, who is also the president of Bengal Tennis Association, believes Paes should consider about retirement after India’s Davis Cup tie against New Zealand in Pune. If he wins with Saketh Myneni there, Paes would hold the record of highest doubles win in Davis Cup. He currently is tied with Italian Nicola Pietrangeli (42 wins).

Such a step after the New Zealand tie, Chatterjee said, would help preserve Paes’ brand. “He has already achieved the record of playing in Olympics for seven times, has even got an Olympic medal. In the tie against New Zealand, if he wins, he would have another Davis Cup record which is unlikely to be surpassed for many, many years to come. He would leave at pinnacle if he does so after the New Zealand tie in Pune, ”Chatterjee told DH.

“See, there is no questioning Leander’s commitment, passion and contribution to Indian tennis. But there are younger players, who are doing well, and are ahead in the rankings. The two Indian boys (Rohan Bopanna and Jeevan Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan) won the Chennai Open doubles title. Now if the selection committee picks other players ahead of Leander, it would not look nice.”

Paes is currently ranked 63 in men’s doubles. Bopanna (No 28), Divij Sharan (No 58) and Purav Raja (No 62) are all ranked ahead of him.

Chatterjee, who had spoken to Paes on the matter after the recent selection committee meeting and before the Chennai Open, however, was quick to add that it was just a “suggestion.”

“We cannot tell Leander to retire. But he understands. Let’s see what he decides,” said Chatterjee.

In the last fortnight or so, the talks of Paes’ retirement have been picking pace. The appointment of Mahesh Bhupathi as the new Davis Cup captain has also played its part. Paes, too, hinted at taking the big step on the sidelines of Chennai Open by throwing in words like “last few months of my playing career” and by thanking people for having a “fun run” during his media interaction. He later put down the talks of retirement and said that his words were taken out of context.

Now whether or not there would be curtains on the career of this great doubles player, only Paes can tell. He has been long enough on the circuit to time his call. His performance in the Australian Open would be keenly followed. The suspense, though, continues.

Nagal dropped for breach of discipline

Sumit Nagal had impressed on his Davis Cup debut against Spain not so long ago but the youngster has been dropped from the team for the upcoming New Zealand tie due to serious breach of discipline, AITA sources have claimed, reports PTI.

It has been learnt that during the tie against Korea in Chandigarh in July last year, 19-year-old Nagal, who was a reserve member in the squad, skipped morning practice sessions due to a hangover.

“We got to know that he finished the mini-bar in his hotel room. He is a very talented guy but when you are only 19 years old and you are getting a chance to be in the Indian team and you miss practise sessions, it’s not acceptable,” an AITA source said.

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