Age is just a number for Leander Paes

"A tennis ball does not know the age of the person that has hit it. It knows the power and the speed, the technique and the spin. Playing with Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis has taught me to re-calibrate my training methods," says Leander Paes, 42, who has been appointed as the Global Brand Ambassador of the Legendari Group.

Leander Paes... marathon man.   -  R. RAGU

Leander Paes was appointed as the Global Brand Ambassador of the Legendari Group for a period of three years, here on Sunday, a day before the start of the Aircel Chennai Open. The Legendari Group is a Singapore-based sports marketing firm that owns the Japanese franchise in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), the Legendari Japan Warriors. Leander was an integral part of the team that also included Maria Sharapova, Kei Nishikori and Marat Safin.

“I am thrilled to grow my partnership with the Legendari Group and work closely with them as a Global Brand Ambassador. Having been associated with the Group as part of the Legendari Japan Warriors, I am excited to work with them in promoting sports, especially tennis,” said Leander.

As he begins yet another season on the ATP Tour, Leander, at 42, considers age as just another number. “A tennis ball does not know the age of the person that has hit it. It knows the power and the speed, the technique and the spin. Playing with Martina Navratilova and Martina Hingis has taught me to re-calibrate my training methods,” he said.

On facing Stan Wawrinka, his former doubles partner who is playing in tandem with Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, in the first round of the doubles at the Chennai Open, Leander said: “Stan is a very close friend of mine. To entertain him in my backyard here in Chennai will be a big challenge. I have actually never beaten him so I am looking forward to the challenge.”

On partnering an Indian in the months before the Olympics, he said: “I asked Rohan (Bopanna) if he wanted to play a few tournaments together before the Olympics but he’s pretty set in his partnership, so he wasn’t too keen on taking up that idea.”

With regard to teaming up with Sania Mirza at Rio, he said: “One hundred per cent I want to. I think Sania and I will be the best team to represent India in the mixed doubles. Having won three out of four Grand Slams last year automatically makes me a forerunner. Also, Rohan has never been to the final of any mixed doubles event in his career is a telling stat.”

Paes on avoiding pre London 2012 situation, "I really hope politics does not come into play like it did last time. I know exactly what went on last time and who was involved, but I will not name anyone. Selection should be purely on merit and my record in 2015 speaks for itself."