Paes undecided on retirement

The veteran Indian tennis player also said he is ‘not a big fan’ of the format change in Davis Cup as it takes away the home advantage.

While he is not a fan of the new Davis Cup format, Paes indicated that the leagues are the way forward for international tennis.   -  SHAYAN ACHARYA

The tennis world has been divided ever since the introduction of the sweeping reforms designed to pull the Davis Cup out of anachronism.

While a section of players has welcomed the move, some have opposed the idea claiming that the tournament will lose its charm. Indian ace, Leander Paes, is ‘not a big fan’ of the format change as it takes away the home advantage.

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Speaking to Sportstar on the sidelines of the launch of Tennis Premier League, Paes said, “The Davis Cup has evolved over the years. So many times, they have tried to popularise Davis Cup (so that) more of the top players play. I think this is just one more attempt to actually popularise the game and put it in a concept where it’s all happening within one week."

The change would see the current four-weekend format being replaced with a one-week, 18-team, single-venue event called The World Cup of Tennis to be played after the season-ending ATP World Tour finals in November.

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“I am not a big fan of it because the home advantage goes. Having played Davis Cup for 28-29 years now since 1990, I know that playing at home, you have the home crowd and the court advantage; it popularises the game in every single country,” Paes said.

 

Tennis Leagues the way forward

While he is not a fan of the new format, Paes indicated that the leagues are the way forward for international tennis. “If you look at the world stage in tennis, you not only have the Grand Slams, you also have ATP Tours, Masters Series, 500 Series, 250 Series — one of which we have in India. Now, you are having so much of tennis with the leagues. The Laver Cup was a phenomenal hit,” he pointed out.

“Look at the way (Roger) Federer and his company runs (a league), it is phenomenal. A lot of these leagues are now kind of wanting to popularize tennis all over the world.

"The Laver Cup looks like the Ryder Cup. They seem to be on the same premise, where you have Europe and the rest of the world. Europe against America. Leagues are catching up very fast,” the 45-year-old said.

'Playing on my own terms'

Ever since he pulled out of the Asian Games, there have been speculations on Paes' future. However, he made it clear that he will call it quits on his own terms. “I hope I have brought happiness to people over the years. Now, I am playing because I enjoy it. I think the last few years have been very tough both on and off the court. For me, tennis brings a lot of happiness."

“How long am I going to play? As long as I enjoy it. Will I retire by the end of the year? I don’t know; we will see. I have achieved everything that’s there to achieve.

After inaugurating the league on Saturday, he also played a round of tennis with a couple of wheelchair-bound players and enjoyed it thoroughly.   -  SHAYAN ACHARYA

 

"I don’t have anything to prove to anybody out there. My whole team, who have been my biggest critics, have been very supportive and I have done what we have dreamt of doing," the tennis ace noted.

After inaugurating the league on Saturday, he also played a round of tennis with a couple of wheelchair-bound players and enjoyed it thoroughly.