Leander Paes eyes Olympic, Grand Slam glory in 2012
Chennai: Winning an Olympic medal and ending a Grand Slam title drought figure in the top priorities of Leander Paes for the year 2012 but the Indian tennis legend parried question who he would partner for the London Games.
Paes is all set to begin the new season by competing in the doubles event of the Chennai Open with new partner Janko Tipsarevic as he has again parted ways with Mahesh Bhupathi.
"Both (are my priorities). But this summer season will be very tricky, as we have the French Open, followed by Wimbledon, then the Olympics and then within two or three weeks, the US Open," he told reporters here.
Paes said he would try to get back on the winning track after going a season without Grand Slam success.
"I didn`t win a Grand Slam title last year. And this being an Olympic year, that`s definitely a time when I`ll peak. I`ve come pretty close to it (Olympic medal in doubles) in the past, including with Ramesh Krishnan at the Barcelona Olympics (when they reached the quarterfinals)."
Paes refused to elaborate on who he would partner at the London Olympics this year now that Mahesh Bhupathi is set to partner Rohan Bopanna.
"That`s for the All Indian Tennis Association (AITA) to decide. I am not going to answer it right now," he said.
Paes lavished praise on Serbian Tipsarevic, his first time partner.
"He`s a phenomenal athlete, he`s in the top-10 now. He`s a great guy and I haven`t played with him much, but I hope we can do well."
Paes also said not enough youngsters have come forward to take over from his generation.
But showering praise on Somdev Devvarman, he said, "he`s a great lad. His results and his tennis speak for themselves."
However, Paes said Somdev had not received the support he deserved and called for more backing for him. The Indian ace said another promising Indian youngster, Yuki Bhambhri, had yet to realise his full potential.
"He was World No 1 junior, not many Indian players have that talent. But we`ve not heard as much of him as we would`ve liked. We need to nurture six, seven, eight players. We need more players that can keep India in the Davis Cup World Group.”
"We`ve always played some of the best tennis (in Davis Cup) regardless of our ranking. We`ve always punched above our weight," Paes said.