Leander Paes on Friday confirmed that he will play in London Olympics and has agreed to pair with any team the All India Tennis Association (AITA) chooses.
“It is my dream to be part of my sixth Olympics and I will not let petty politics come in the way of hard work and good tennis,” Paes said.
The 39-year-old had threatened to withdraw from the Olympics despite being India’ number one doubles player after being paired with a much lower-ranked Vishnu Vardhan for the big event. Paes’ partners of choice — Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna — refused to combine with him and insisted on being sent as a team themselves.
On Sania’s outburst, Paes refused any direct comment, saying, “Every Olympics has some nonsense coming in with it.”
“I know how much hard work goes into what I do. (Either) people choose to respect it, which I’m very lucky that India does, (or) people choose to disrespect. That’s their problem, not mine,” Paes said.
Paes, set to make a record sixth Olympic appearance, said he would look to help Vardhan, who would be making Games’ debut in London.
“I don’t even know if he has grass-court shoes. So it’s a bit of a tough one. But he’s a really good kid, I’m happy to play with him.
“Whatever the obstacles are, which I see are going to be many — he’s never been to Wimbledon before — whatever I can do as an experienced professional athlete to help my partners out, I do,” he said.