Veteran Indian tennis star Leander Paes has showered praise on Swiss Tennis legend Roger Federer and stated that it was amazing to see how Federer “reinvented” himself to win grand slam tournaments.
Leander Paes made this comment after Federer announced on Monday that he will participate in the Tokyo Olympics. With his announcement, the 20 grand slam winner ended all speculation regarding his retirement.
The development also implies that the 38-year-old will also be featuring in the Australian Open which will be held in January 2020. The Australian Open will thus act as a good warm-up for Federer for the Olympic Games scheduled to be held from 24 August-9 August 2020.
“This (2020) year’s Australian Open is going to be very unique. Roger Federer just announced that he will be playing in the Olympics in 2020. I think that is just fantastic news for the tennis fans because there’s always a question of whether he is going to continue or not,” Paes was quoted as saying at an event in Mumbai to promote the Australian Open.
Roger Federer is yet to win an Olympic singles title in his otherwise illustrious career. His best performance came at the London Olympics in 2012 where he lost to Britain’s Andy Murray and won a silver medal. He could not feature in the 2016 Olympics owing to an injury.
However, Federer has won a gold medal at Beijing in 2008 but that came in the men’s doubles category along with Stan Wawrinka.
“Don’t be surprised if you see Roger in the last couple of days at the Australian Open. He knows he is going to push really hard in the final sprint.
“What he has been able to do over the last few years in reinventing himself to win grand slams. He came a sliver shy of winning a record Wimbledon title. It’s amazing what Roger is doing to reinventing himself to win grand slams,” Paes added.
The 46-year-old, Paes, who is the only tennis star to take part in a record seven Olympic Games, added that he would love to be part of the Tokyo Olympics.
“Tokyo (Olympics) is a long way away. As far as I am concerned, I was conceived at the Olympics in 1972 when my parents were there. Every Sunday morning, I used to polish my dad’s medal and everything I have dreamt for is to play for the flag of our country, for the people of our country. So, if I am ever called, rest assured I will be there for the country,” said Paes.
“I have already got the record for most number of Olympics played. But I think an eighth Olympics will be India’s record,” he added.
Leander Paes also lauded MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Sunil Chhetri for their invaluable contribution to Indian sports. He highlighted how sporting leagues have helped Indian sports.
“Dhoni was an amazing captain. Virat is a phenomenal captain. He leads with his heart on his sleeves. Sunil Chhetri, another amazing captain. It’s amazing how he has reinvented himself. In the last three-four years, he has looked fitter than what he looked 15 years ago,” he said.
“I think the attributes of the results you are seeing are because of the leagues we are having in the country. The Kabaddi League, for example, is phenomenal, the badminton league, table tennis league is growing, ISL has got international players here and the epitome of leagues is the IPL.
“I think we have all learnt from cricket and we all should continue to learn from cricket on how we can grow as a nation in sports,” he added.