Paes: When I play for India, I will always give my best

Leander Paes said he will be preparing for the Davis Cup tie against Croatia in March by playing in the Bengaluru Open and Dubai Open.

Maharashtra Open appearance was Paes' final ATP Tour tournament in India.    -  R. Ragu

Leander Paes, who was selected in the Davis Cup squad, said he will give his best in the tie against Croatia in his final year as a tennis player. 

He expected Croatia to be a tough challenge for India. “I feel like Croatia is going to be a very tough team. The depth in the Croatian team is incredible. Especially in doubles, you've got Mate Pavich and Ivan Dodig, two of the best players in the world at the moment,” he said. 

“I think no matter who you put in the doubles, that is going to be really tough. I believe that they picked three singles players and three doubles players,” Paes responded when asked if he should have made way for someone younger.  

“But for me when it comes to playing for the country, I will always do my best no matter what. 

"I can still play the best. And today, I lost to two Indians in the second round, but I beat another Indian to win the first, right? I mean, some days you play great, some days you don't. At the end of the day, you have got to put your best foot forward in singles and doubles,” he said. 

“It'll be interesting to see who they eventually choose to play. But if I'm selected, you can be rest assured I'll be putting my best foot forward,” Leander said after losing to Ramkumar Kumar and Purav Raja in the quarterfinals of Tata Open Maharashtra on Thursday. It was his final ATP Tour tournament in India. 

He said he opted to play in Bengaluru Open and Dubai Open to be match-ready for the Davis Cup tie in March. 

“That's part of the reason why I'm playing in Bengaluru next week. And then I'm playing in Dubai to lead into the Davis Cup camp. I think it's important to play matches. You know, today, I was very ordinary,” he said. 

Leander also praised the performance of Ramkumar Ramanathan and Purav Raja in the quarterfinals. “Today, I really got to commend them, because they had 84% first serves in, they were playing amazingly well. Things were working in their favor, right from that first breakpoint which makes it harder for us. We lost a better team today. Congratulations to them,” he said.

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