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Leander attributes good old passion to longevity

It is not every day that one turns 40. But for India’s tennis legend Leander Paes, who reaches the milestone on Monday, age is just a number.

Leander Paes and daughter Aiyan
On the eve of Father’s Day, Leander Paes and his daughter Aiyana share a cake prepared by her at Sofitel Hotel at Bandra Kurla Complex as a chef looks on. PIC/Sameer Markande

“As much as we’re all celebrating my birthday, I actually look in life to celebrate my whole team who have to sacrifice their lives to be with me and support me,” he told SUNDAY MiD DAY.

It has been a tough year for Paes, by his own admission, having seen his doubles rankings fall from third in January to 15th five months later. But Paes, who has been around on the professional circuit for 22 years, is determined to consolidate.

“At this moment if you ask me, it’s just been a tight year. I think in life you just have to be able to roll with the punches. When things are going really well, push even harder, achieve more.

“But when things are not going well, you tighten in, you consolidate, you make it a very solid year. By consolidate, I mean finishing in the top 10 this year,” he says.

In fact, Paes plans to use this current phase in his life to teach his daughter Aiyana a valuable lesson.  “I’m still playing because I’m very passionate about the sport.

That same passion that I had to win trophies as a kid is still burning in me.  “I want to play, especially now, so as to teach Aiyana about perseverance,” he adds. 

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