The break-up with partner Rhea Pillai and the legal battle for custody of his eight-year-old daughter Aiyana is clearly taking a toll on tennis icon Leander Paes’ career.
The break-up with partner Rhea Pillai and the legal battle for custody of his eight-year-old daughter Aiyana is clearly taking a toll on tennis icon Leander Paes’ career
“Physically I am good, and mentally I am peaceful. I have personal issues to look at. This year has been a very tough. Yes, I have a daughter whom I have to protect and look after. But, I have got a very good team around me who helped me (during my bad times). My parents helped to look after my daughter. I have a team around me who helped look after my tennis career and my business.
“Also, if I can get the personal front looked after and ensure that Aiyana’s life is safe and secured, then I can actually have peace of mind to chase Grand Slam titles. But, right now it’s been a very hard year for me,” the winner of 14 Grand Slam titles said during a media interaction after a tennis clinic he held with kids at Khar Gymkhana yesterday.
Paes feels his daughter’s future is of greater importance to him than his career. Asked if the personal turmoil affected his game, he said: “The fact that I didn’t play for four months did affect me. This time last year, I was No 5 or 6 in the world. Now I am No 35. Any human being will feel the pressure and the stress. I hope good sense prevails.
“I hope that maturity prevails. As parents, we have to do what’s right for the child rather than the individual career.The child is more important than anyone.”