The passion to achieve excellence everyday is what motivates Leander Paes the most and the ageless wonder's mantra in life is to focus on positives.
In an exclusive chat with PTI, the 41-year-old tennis legend explained how he keeps himself motivated to come on to the courts everyday and produce magnificent results.
"I am motivated by excellence. And motivated by to be being the best every day and every department of my life as a son, patriot, and athlete and as a father. What drives me is that I find every day that I can get better. Even when I am going to be 42 in six months time, I want to keep improving. I want to be the best every day and in every department," Paes said. (Also read: Paes-Klassen lose in Chennai Open final)
The winner of 12 Grand Slam titles said there will be always be difficult circumstances in life but the key was to focus on the bright side.
"The obstacles are out of your control but what you can really control is the way you react to it. The way you deal with it. What is the use of getting angry...feeling depressed, it does not solve anything. At the end of the day my racquet does the talking. There is no reason to get down.
"In our country you are going to have lot of adversity. For me, the way I live my life is the values in life and ethics. The way I have been brought up with.
"That is something in which I believe very strongly. I will fight for what I believe in. I always go for the truth. But at the same time you have to be tactful in dealing with adversities," he said
When asked to cite an example how he overcame hardships in life according to his philosophy, Paes recalled the days when he encountered a life-threatening brain tumour.
"Yes, there were times when I felt the adversity is so much and why. Then you also realise that you are so blessed. You should remember that I had come from a place where I had a tumour in the head and I was given only six months to live. So, when you come back from a space like that you realise that what are the important things in life and it is very clear. And, in that where I choose to live in."
Paes said he does not give much importance to his critics.
"For every one person, that is negative (for me), I probably got millions of people who are positive. So, why worry about that one person, when you got million other people are positive. I listen to critics but also see if it is correct or wrong."
Talking about future of Indian tennis, Paes was of the view surely the numbers of players has gone up but India need better players.
"Earlier, it used to be only me or two three other guys. Now there are 15 or 20 guys are playing, who are close to each other on ATP ranking. But, I still feel that to play at the top levels you can easily differentiate between the best and everybody who is around 200 or three hundred in the world and then you can differentiate the guys in the top 10 or 20.
"I think that all of us have a lot of improving to do. All of us have to work on our games.Â But really the numbers have grown and now we need to keep getting the quality better. There is no reason as to why you cannot do it here.Â Just the work ethics, we all need to keep improving."