Tennis ace Leander Paes has always spoken of his love for the adrenalin rush that comes with wearing India on his sleeve. But on Friday, he revealed to MiD DAY that he has a love for speed and all that goes with it too. "I love Formula One. It's an exhilarating sport with some crazy speed and demands a very high level of fitness," said Paes.
Inevitably, the Indian GP is high on Paes' agenda. "I can't wait for October 30. I think we'll do a great job of the Indian GP. I'm keen to see how it pans out. 110 percent I will be there to watch it in New Delhi," he said.
The five-time Olympian even has an F1 hero. "I've been a huge fan of the late Brazilian Ayrton Senna. He was my hero," said Paes. Senna, 34 years old at the time, was killed after his Williams' Formula One car slammed into a concrete wall while attempting a corner at high speed (about 135 mph) even as he was leading in Lap 6 of the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994. The three-time Formula One champion (1988, 1990, 1991) was the last F1 driver to die in a crash.
Paes said he admired the Brazilian for his lifestyle both on and off the pitch. "On the track, Senna was definitely one of the best Formula One drivers ever. But off the track, he was a good human being too. I admired him for his ideologies and for all that he stood by. I think he was a fantastic athlete, superb driver and great human being," added Paes, who could not take to the court for his US Open mixed-doubles semi-final with Russian partner Elena Vesnina due to a back injury.
Subsequently he even missed India's Davis Cup tie against Japan. Currently though the 38-year-old 12-time Grand Slam winner has returned to full training and will travel to China with partner Mahesh Bhupathi with the Shanghai Masters on his mind.
Paes has visited quite a few F1 races too. "My favourite race has to be the Monaco GP. I think it's one of the world's most beautiful F1 street races. I'm keen to witness a night race in Singapore though. Somehow, due to my tennis commitments, I've not been able to catch that one," he said.