Bangalore: Veteran Indian tennis player Leander Paes Thursday said his fitness is still good enough to carry him into Brazil Olympic Games in 2016.
Paes' contemporary and estranged partner Mahesh Bhupathi has already made it clear that 2013 would be his last season as a professional player. Paes, who will turn 40 in June this year, though said he can still play another three-and-a-half years because his body feels great and injury-free.
Paes, who won a singles bronze in Atlanta Games, said the current breed of players inspire and motivate him to keep pushing hard. "Yuki Bhambri, Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh, who are future Indian players, would motivate me to participate in next Olympic," Paes, who set to play his 50th Davis Cup tie told reporters.
Asked about his most memorable tie, Paes said the tie at Frejus in France in 1993 was one of the most best as none of the French players gave them a chance. "The French team had amazing guys, ranking top ten. The surface was also alien to us," he said. The Frejus performance helped India reach the semi-finals of the 1993 Davis Cup, eventually losing to Australia.
Paes said another memorable performance was when he beat Goran Ivanisevic in New Delhi in 1995, especially after he had done really well at Wimbledon. "I came back in the match after trailing 1-2," he said. Paes said he was still looking for a new partner for 2013 season after his doubles partner Radek Stepanek underwent a spinal surgery in January.
"It is a tough task for me at the moment because a lot of players are already setup for the year. I had an option in Miami to get a very good partner, but that did not materialise," he said. Paes further said, "the first month when Radek comes back, he will play some singles and after that it will be known whether he is ready for doubles."
Paes had won Australian Open with Czech Stepanek last year to complete his career Slam but their title defence this year fell apart due to latter's injury as they were shocked in the first round by Kevin Anderson and Jonathan Erlich.