London my best but not last chance to win Olympic medal: Paes
New Delhi: Ageless Indian tennis star Leander Paes, who completed a career Grand Slam at the Australian Open last week, says that the London Games is probably his "best" but not the "last" chance to win a second Olympic medal.
"It could be the best chance but don`t know if it`s the last chance. For me, it`s probably one of the best chances I have to win a medal in the doubles event at the London Olympics," said Paes.
London Games, scheduled to begin in for July this year, will be sixth Olympics appearance for the 38-year-old Paes.
He became the first Indian to complete a career Grand Slam by winning the Australian Open doubles title with Czech partner Radek Stepanek and ended runners-up in the mixed doubles event with Elena Vesnina.
Paes, who had won an Olympic bronze medal in singles in 1996 Atlanta Games, said he wants to win a career Slam in mixed doubles as well this year.
"Yes, it`s very much the aim," he said.
The Indian tennis legend, however, parried question on who he would partner for the London Games.
"I don`t know who my partner is going to be. I just hope to get the best partner to win the medal, and not just be there to participate."
He said to represent the country in Olympics is a very special feeling.
"For me, it`s very special to represent the country in Olympics. It`s altogether more special when you play in your sixth Olympics. For me to go and play in my sixth Olympics, it`s like I`ll be few among the athletes whole world ever. It just shows the years of hardwork."
Paes, who is the only Indian to win an Olympic medal in tennis, rated his Atlanta feat by far the "best" above his career Slams.
"Atlanta medal is by far the best thing I have achieved. Career slams are up there but singles medal by far the best," he said.
At 38, there`s nothing old about the fist-pumping, body-slamming champion that Paes is. Asked about his age defying formula, came a prompt reply. "It`s called passion, stay happy."
Going by his achievements on the ATP Tour in the doubles, Paes should have won a doubles Olympic medal by now but it has not happened.
I came close to winning doubles medals three times. One with Ramesh Krishnan in my first Olympics in 1992, twice with Mahesh (Bhupathi) one in Athens and other in the quarterfinals at Beijing but I really really concentrated on my singles medal at Atlanta, so for me that was not a surprise. I was ready for it," he said.
Paes said winning the Australian Open`s doubles title has boosted his hopes for the his sixth Olympics.
"We have started the year well, it`s a long year ahead of us...started really well and I think I solidified my decision to play in the Olympics but like I said, it`s just not participation. For me to participate is ok but I never go to any tournament just to participate, I go there to win and that`s what I am looking for," he signed off.