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Child Custody Battle: Leander Paes denies Rhea Pillai's allegations

New Delhi: Indian tennis veteran Leander Paes on Monday denied allegations made by his partner Rhea Pillai, with whom he is locked in a custody battle for their daughter Aiyana, and made it clear that he intends to compete at Wimbledon and US Open this season.

Pillai, a former model, had filed a complaint against Paes with the Bandra police station alleging that he had locked her out of her own house.

Pillai stays at Paes' house in Mumbai.

Leander Paes with daughter Aiyana
Leander Paes with daughter Aiyana

"I categorically deny all the allegations and lies made against me by Rhea Pillai. My lawyers and I have documentary proof to support every single claim in the guardianship petition I have filed. I hope justice will prevail in the interest of my daughter and would leave the process of investigation to the Courts of India," Paes, hero of India's numerous Davis Cup wins and multiple Grand Slam winner, said in a statement.

"Bond between Aiyana and Me: My daughter means the world to me and I cherish the bond we share. It is solely in the interest of her protection that I have taken the necessary legal steps to seek her custody," Paes added.

Paes had said that he may stop playing tennis for the sake of his daughter. However, the ageing star, who has expressed his wish to play in a record seventh Olympics at Rio Games, said he has no intention to quit the game at least this season.

"In the meantime I intend to continue with the ATP Tour and participate in the grass court season leading to Wimbledon and the hard court season leading to the US Open," he said.

Paes, 40, had earlier filed a petition in the family court seeking his daughter's custody on the grounds that Pillai was an irresponsible mother.

In his 30-page petition, filed on May 3, Paes alleged that Rhea's "escapades, indiscreet and irresponsible behaviour, lack of personal maternal supervision, volatile temper and self-indulgence created insecurity in the child and was detrimental to a healthy upbringing".

Paes's petition also claims that he would be a better parent than Rhea.

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