I believe Rohan Bopanna and me can win an Olympic medal together: Leander Paes
They might have been outplayed in theDavis Cup doubles tie by an unfancied Czech Republic pair but veteran Leander Paes is optimistic about his and Rohan Bopanna’s prospects of winning a medal at next year’s Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I have got a phenomenal partner by my side in Rohan, who was a finalist at the US Open (2010), semi-finalist at Wimbledon this year. He is a phenomenal tennisplayer. I believe in him. That’s why I wanted to play with him in the whole season of 2012 and that’s why I want to play Olympics with him because I do believe that we could win an Olympic medal together,” said Paes.
The 43-year-old said that despite the two of them playing with respective partners on tours in run up to the Olympics, they have perfect understanding between them.
“In the last 15 years, we got a little spoilt with combination of me and Mahesh (Bhupathi). I am using this word spoilt very gently but me and Mahesh were world beaters, Grand Slam winners, we were winning all our Davis Cup ties together. We went through some kind of crazy record where we did not lose 24 matches in a row.”
But Paes said that there needs to be reality check now. “That combination was phenomenal for what it was, we played for eight years in a row together. It was great. But let us put that on a side for the time being. Now we have to think about the future. To prepare for an Olympics, it takes a lot of hard work.
“Winning and losing is in God’s hands but we know how much hard work it takes to win a medal. I know Rohan would keep working hard on the tour with his partner and as long as we both look after ourselves, stay injury free, stay mentally strong and believe in each other, we can play great quality tennis. The belief in each other is what is going to get us the medal. Me and Rohan have to keep our levels up and keep playing well on tours,” said Paes.
Bopanna agreed that it did not matter whether they played together in the next one year before Olympics.
“Last time, I played with Mahesh and we played the whole six months. For me, I have committed to a Romanian partner right now. I have finally found a partner to do well on the tour after struggling with so many partners.
“So want to stick with that and then when we have an opportunity we will play together. Depending on how well we are doing in the tours, we can play together at Washington and then there is a master series in Toronto before the Rio Olympics,” said Bopanna.