Kolkata: Amid continuing suspense over India’s double combination, legendary Leander Paes on Wednesday began training for the Davis Cup Asia/Oceania Zone Group 1 tie against Uzbekistan, the match which is set to take place on Friday.
The 43-year-old tennis star who is in the squad as a reserve member, trained for nearly 3 hours at the KSLTA hard courts. He was accompanied by some of the junior players and Coach Zeeshan Ali. Paes worked hard on his serve, forehand and backhand and shed a lot of sweat in the process.
During one of the practice breaks, Paes said “Oh, it feels so great.” As SportsCrunch earlier said that the problems between Paes and India’s non-playing captain for the Davis Cup Mahesh Bhupathi may well stand as a reason for him to be sitting on the benches.
Till now, Bhupathi has refused to reveal the doubles combination for Friday’s tie and said “The team has not yet been finalised. I have seen Leander for the first time today. Let us see how it goes.” Paes flew in from Leon, where he won his first Challenger title of the season, bagging the doubles title in the USD 75,000 Challenger Tennis Tournament on April 1.
This hasn’t gone unnoticed and the Indian skipper was quick to add that Paes is all rejuvenated and fit. “He looks fresh. He looks good. He is going to play some sets and then let us see” Bhupathi quoted.
The Challengers Trophy which Paes recently won had conditions which are similar to the ones here. This fact was acknowledged as well by Bhupathi who said “Yeah, (it) definitely helps, for Leander played in similar conditions in Mexico.” Whether or not Paes plays in the tie will be seen on April 7, but the win in the Challengers Trophy may well keep Paes ahead of arch rival Rohan Bopanna.
(with inputs from PTI)