Leander Paes has declared that he will stick with partner Radek Stepanek for the 2014 season.
“Radek Stepanek will be my partner next year. I want to do well in the Grand Slams and have hence decided to team up with him. My aim for 2014 is to remain fit for the Grand Slams,” Paes said on the sidelines of a tennis clinic for kids at the Khar Gymkhana on Sunday.
Invited to be a part of the Indian Tennis Players’ Association and designated vice-president, he spoke on the objectives of the organisation.
“I am happy about the work done by the ITPA in giving back to the tennis community,” Paes said. The clinic for kids is an effort to give back to the community. The spark in their eyes and their energy to learn keeps me going.”
Asked about his partner at the Chennai Open, he said: “You will know about it in due course.” He had teamed up with Janko Tipsarevic to win the title in 2012.
Paes said he was intrigued by Boris Becker agreeing to join Novak Djokovic’s coaching team. “I (wonder) what Becker can bring to Djokovic’s game. The margin (between victory and defeat) is so narrow at that level, I wonder what more can be done to Djokovic’s preparations. He has a wonderful team, and it is wise of him to have retained (his current coach) Marian Vajda,” Paes said.
“I read somewhere that Becker himself was surprised (at being approached by Djokovic). I believe this is the first time he will be coaching.”
At 40, Paes says he is grateful to his team for enabling him to maintain high fitness levels. “My long-term coach Rick Leach, fitness trainer Dave Herman, yoga specialist and masseur Sanjay Singh have worked with me. I am thankful to them,” he said.
He was also appreciative of the guidance from former India Davis Cup captain, Jaideep Mukherjea, who had advised his father (Vece Paes) to enrol a young Leander for tennis coaching in Kolkata, instead of football which remains his first love. “Dream big and work hard to make your dreams come true,” said the doubles ace to the kids. The ITPA will also hold a two-day doubles event at the same venue.