Tennis great Leander Paes said that grooming younger players for the Indian Davis Cup team should be the priority and that ideally, he shouldn’t be finding a spot to play now. Paes was recently included in the Indian team that played Pakistan in Kazakhstan after several players made themselves unavailable to travel to Islamabad.
Eventually, the tie was played in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan and India won 3-0. The 46-year-old hinted at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday that he may be considering retirement next year.
“In terms of what’s best for the team, I should not be playing past the next year. At 46, I should have been pushed out by the next generation. So to look at it objectively, the health of the team to nurture a younger set of players is what is important,” he said.
“When I’m called to play, I will be the best I can be. After next year, I am not so sure about that. I feel we need to nurture the next generation.”
Paes said that he was ready to travel to Islamabad had the tie been held there. “I would have definitely gone, I would have enjoyed going there to play for the country and winning.
“I’m not going to play for too much longer. I’ve had a great 30-year stint in Davis Cup. I’ve lived my career playing for the country. So when I am called for a tie, whatever the circumstances are, I will be there.”
Paes said that coaching is something that he is considering to pick up in the coming years. “There are other things that are motivating me so much. A dream of mine is to coach and train and nurture youngsters to win Olympic medals, to win the Wimbledon championship,” he said.