It’s 8 in the evening, and India’s Davis Cup legend Leander Paes, is sweating it out at DLTA’s centre court in the national capital. Giving him company is Rohan Bopanna. The 42-year-old landed in Delhi ahead of India’s much anticipated duel with Czech Republic over the weekend.
Coming out of a 45-minute session, Paes was drenched. And immediately, the winner of 19 Grand Slams got a whiff of Delhi’s sweltering heat. “Physicial fitness will be a huge factor in this tie. It’s eight in the evening and it’s humid, if you come out at noon after a five set duel in this Delhi heat, the physicality of this tie will be phenomenal,” he said.
Heat was not the only thing on Leander’s mind. Facing good friend Radek Stepanek, with whom he has won two Grand Slams, is another thing that will be his immediate concern. Paes admitted that the doubles rubber against him would be crucial.
Radek is one of my dear friends. He is an athlete for whom I have tremendous respect for. The quality of tennis on Saturday is going to be high. I am sure he will come out in full force to get my scalp, and I am ready for it,” he added.
Leander said that even if at his age, he was able to win Grand Slams because of his discipline. He won three mixed doubles titles in 2015. Going forward, Paes said he was eyeing not only men’s doubles but also mixed doubles at Rio Olympics, for which he was planning to stay fit.