Paes keen to play sixth Olympics, Mahesh not sure

Beijing, Aug 15 (UNI) Leander Paes is still hungry, the ageing tennis maestro today made it clear that he has no plans to retire from the national side saying that he was looking for his sixth Olympics in 2012.

''Why not,'' he replied to a question as whether he will like to play the next Olympics. ''I am going to be 39 by the time of the London Olympics and there are many doubles players here who are 40 or over, so if I am fit, I will definitely like to play.'' His partner Mahesh Bhupathi was however, not that sure about his Olympic future. ''It is hard to plan for next four years from now, I don't know what I was going to do next year, how can I say about 2012,'' he said.

However, both of them showed keen interest in representing India in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. ''The Games are going to be held at home and it will be good to play. We have always put our best foot forward when playing for the country,'' Bhupathi added.

Paes, on the other hand, said he was also keen to play in the 2010 Asian Games. ''I have already played in four Asiad and missed one due to wrist injury.

''It all depends on one's energy level and if I feel fit and my legs can stand I will like to keep playing for my country,'' he said.

Both admitted that today's loss against Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka has left them deeply disappointed. ''All I can say that on country's Independence day we could not win and lot of peopele must be feeling let down,'' Mahesh said adding ''We have always played to the best of our capabilities and delivered but today we could not do that, we are disappointed.'' Paes said the defeat will rankle, ''because we were very near to our target of podium finish, we had worked hard for this.

''Playing for the country always gives me a high and I wanted a medal here which would have been a great boost for the game back home,'' Paes said.

He said he has no excuse to offer, ''Yes draw was tough but not very tough, in the other half, all the top ranked pairs including defending champion and Australian open winners have been clubbed. We won our first two matches impressively.

''We played solid tennis in those matches but today we came up against Roger Federer,'' Paes noted.

He repeated that defeat was a heart break because ''it (Olympics) was something we had worked together, we came close to it but missed it.'' Bhupathi echoed Paes' sentiments saying, ''Yes we are very disappointed, we both move on to the US open from here but we will miss these games because we had prepared well for it.'' UNI HSB RAR KN1702

Story first published: Friday, August 15, 2008, 17:33 [IST]
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