Free Press Journal

Paes finds a new pal

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Leander: Ole, Ole, Ole! You are really a bull, Rafa. Seeing you after such a long time? Why don’t we meet more often?

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Rafa: You must be busy picking up so many partners for Men’s and Mixed doubles matches from all over the world. Who are they this time, do I know them?


Leander: No, I don’t think so; these guys were not even born when I started playing tennis. That is the beauty of Indian tennis. I can show you Indian tennis officials who are approaching 100 and are still glued to their chairs. It is the spirit which matters and not the chair. They want to be buried in the tennis courts! How are you doing? The famous muscles look good!

Rafa: I hope so though after this series I may melt and disappear, such infernal humidity. How do you play in these conditions?

Leander: That is part of our Indian strategy, if you can’t beat them melt them to defeat! Hope we can do it this time?

Rafa: That is true for the likes of us, success is a heavy burden to carry I carry 14 Grand Slam championship medals teammate David Ferrer is a marathon man with 26 ATP Singles titles and now we have bagged the French Open Doubles too. The load can be quite heavy at times. (Looks at the sky) Hope there will be showers to lighten the atmosphere.

Leander: We have different problems. Before every Davis Cup we have selection problems with our national players scattered all over the world from Azerbaijan to Zululand. It is all so changed, they all have huge egos. I won’t play with Bops, he can’t the sight of Bhups and the rest of the players cannot even recognize the new faces Saketh, Sumit and that Ramanathan. For a second, I thought it was the ghost of Ramanathan Krishnan coming to the rescue of the Indian team. With the Bhatt brothers running around with so many ghost movies, anything is possible in our sports. Remember our manager Anand dabbles with movies…‘Octopussy’ and all that, One day he will end up playing arch villain Blofeld and take over the Davis Cup. And then the problem of the Mixed Doubles selection! Every woman thinks she is the champion. Lo I t might work ok, I am 43 and not a spring chicken, but I am committed to a never ending long career

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Rafa: I can’t imagine an India without Leander. But your doubles partner is a problem (after along thought). Hey, you have the Miracle Man, the likes of Modi, your Prime Minister who can easily carry around and run on the courts the likes of Sania and. Start a movement, ‘Modi as PM, win the Davis Cup back’. After visiting another 134 nations he may pick-up some new tricks and upset the top nations.

Leander: (excitedly) O that would be wonderful! That would reduce my burden of carrying around on the courts the Sania battalion.