Davis Cup: Ready to Take Responsibility Again, Says Leander Paes

Despite slipping to 11th in singles rankings for the first time, India's ace tennis player Leander Paes is raring to go and lead India's campaign from the front in the Davis Cup.

Updated: September 09, 2014 23:31 IST
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A court hearing will keep Leander Paes off the tennis court. He is battling for the custody of his daughter.
Leander Paes hopes to start well and feels the opening day of the Davis Cup will be crucial for India.

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India's ace tennis player Leander Paes said that he was yet again ready to take the responsibility of playing a crucial role in the Davis Cup World play-off tie against Serbia which begins on Friday.

Commenting on Somdev Devvarman's comment that the tie could hinge on doubles outcome, Paes, who will partner with Rohan Bopanna, said he was ready to take the pressure. (Djokovic's absence good for India: Somdev)

"The tie will be intriguing. Saw in the morning that Somdev said that the tie hinges on the doubles. I will always take the pressure, but there are four singles and one doubles," he said.

"Check the stats. I think I have played with nine generations of Indians. Played with Zeeshan (Ali) in my first tie, in February 1990. Playing under Anand (Amritraj) is great fun. He is very relaxed. No matter what, good advice. Very peaceful man," said Paes, a veteran of India's many a Davis Cup campaigns.

"Now, I am ready to take the pressure," he told reporters after the practice session at Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA).

Paes asked his double partner Bopanna to play aggressive tennis to give a good start to India.

"If Rohan plays soft and tries to just keep ball in play, the ball will go everywhere. Came out and saw him today, he asked me for a couple of tips. Rohan is a firepower player, that is his strength," he said.

"He (Bopanna) is like a bull, you let him run right through the opponents," said Paes whom Bopanna had refused to pair up for the 2012 London Olympics.

"For me, so many partners, I take different roles. With Mahesh (Bhupathi), I always led. With Radek, sometimes I lead, sometimes not. Here I feel that Rohan will lead, and I will be the solid one," he said, adding that he would be playing along with Bopanna for the third time.

Asked if India can take a 2-0 lead on the first day, Paes said opening day would be crucial in a Davis Cup tie, but would not want to predict as the two Serbian players, including Nenad Zimonjic, are solid.

"Day 1 is crucial for all Davis Cup matches, but I don't want to predict. The two Serbian guys are two solid players," he said.

Replying to another question, Paes said, "Inexperience shows, can visibly see it. Home advantage, in tight situations, pressure gets to you. Some people thrive in it, some don't."

On his return to Davis Cup, Paes said he committed himself to play the tie after Indian captain Anand Amritraj accepted his obligation on September 12.

"I have been playing non-stop for 15 weeks and I got a phone call from Amritraj and Rohan (Bopanna). They said they needed me. Told the captain I have an obligation on Friday early morning. Captain was fine with it. Friday afternoon after lunch return is okay," he said.

Asked about the obligation, Paes said, "Everyone knows what the reason is, I have been transparent. Don't want to dwell into it, but I want what is best for my daughter."

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