'I have been practising hard, putting in three hours everyday and I am in the last 100m sprint of a long career.'
Indian tennis icon Leander Paes on Monday said he is eyeing a French Open comeback this year in his quest to make a record eighth appearance at the Tokyo Olympics later this year.
Paes, 47, said he skipped the Australian Open as he is apprehensive of playing in a bio-bubble but is looking ahead to the French Open.
"Playing sport in a bio-bubble is very tough and may not be the best thing to do. I got a grand farewell at the Australian Open last year so I felt this year I would be sitting out and watching," the 1996 Olympic bronze medallist said during the launch of a cricket tournament named after his father Dr Vece Paes, a bronze winner at the 1972 Olympics.
"I hope that by the time of French Open by the end of May Europe will get to a better position than now."
On the Christmas Day of 2019, Paes had announced his "One Last Roar" tagline, calling 2020 to be his last season as a professional player, culminating with the Tokyo Games that was pushed back by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's my goal to represent India in eighth successive Olympics. I am keeping myself in good physical and mental fitness which is not easy being away for 11 months.
"I have been practising hard, putting in three hours everyday and I am in the last 100m sprint of a long career. Tokyo Olympics is important to make sure India remains in the record," Paes said.
The Dr Vece Paes Cricket Cup will be held between CC&FC and Doctors' XI at CC&FC on Tuesday. The doctors of Kolkata wish to make the 75th year of Dr Paes and his achievements a memorable annual event by organising a cricket match which will be played by Paes and former India all-rounder Irfan Pathan.
"I am very emotional about CC&FC. As a young boy growing up, this very ground where I grew up, learnt leadership, sportsmanship and camaraderie.
"It's an honour to be your son. I've tried to run it and play the game of life as best as I could. I hope I have done you proud," the tennis great said.