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This article was first published 9 years ago  » Sports » Paes, the grand old man of Indian tennis ready to shoulder responsibility

Paes, the grand old man of Indian tennis ready to shoulder responsibility

Last updated on: September 10, 2014 10:20 IST
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Leander Paes, Davis Cup

Leander Paes in action. Photograph: Getty Images

India's ace tennis player Leander Paes said that he was yet again ready to take the responsibility of playing a crucial role in the Davis Cup World playoff tie against Serbia which begins on Friday.

Commenting on Somdev Devvarman's comment that the tie could hinge on doubles outcome, the 41 year-old will partner with Rohan Bopanna and said that he was ready to take the pressure.

"The tie will be intriguing. I saw in the morning that Somdev said that the tie hinges on the doubles. I will always take the pressure, but there are four singles and one doubles," he said.

"Please check the statistics. I think I have played with nine generations of Indians. I played with Zeeshan (Ali) in my first tie, in February 1990. Also, playing under Anand (Amritraj) is great fun. He is very relaxed," said Paes, a veteran of India's many a Davis Cup campaigns.

"Now, I am ready to take the pressure," he told reporters after the practice session at Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) in Bangalore.

‘Rohan is a firepower player’

Rohan Bopanna, Davis CupPaes asked his double partner Bopanna to play aggressive tennis to give a good start to India.

"If Rohan plays soft and tries to just keep ball in play, the ball will go everywhere. Rohan is a firepower player, that is his strength," he said.

"He (Bopanna) is like a bull, you let him run right through the opponents," added Paes.

Bopanna had refused to pair up with Paes for the 2012 London Olympics.

"For me, with so many partners, I take different roles. With Mahesh (Bhupathi), I always led. With Radek (Stepanek), sometimes I lead, sometimes not. Here I feel that Rohan will lead, and I will be the solid one," he said, adding that he would be playing along with Bopanna for the third time.

‘In tight situations, pressure gets to you’

Asked if India can take a 2-0 lead on the first day, Paes said opening day would be crucial in a Davis Cup tie, but would not want to predict as the two Serbian players, including Nenad Zimonjic, are solid.

"Day 1 is crucial for all Davis Cup matches, but I don't want to predict. The two Serbian guys are two solid players," he said.

Paes added, "In tight situations, pressure gets to you. Some people thrive in it, some don't."

‘I want what is best for my daughter’

Leander Paes, Davis Cup

Leander Paes with his daughter. Photograph: Rediff Archives

On his return to Davis Cup, Paes said he committed himself to play the tie after Indian captain Anand Amritraj accepted his obligation on September 12.

"I have been playing non-stop for 15 weeks and I got a phone call from Amritraj and Rohan (Bopanna). They said they needed me. I told the captain that I have an obligation on Friday early morning. The captain was fine with it," he said.

Asked about the obligation, Paes said, "Everyone knows what the reason is, I have been transparent. Don't want to dwell into it, but I want what is best for my daughter."

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