and his latest statement:
LONDON: India's No.1 doubles player Leander Paes arrived for his Wimbledon post-match briefing with his angelic daughter Aiyana and trainer Sanjay Singh in tow. The 39-year-old then read out a carefully worded press statement which confirmed his participation for the 2012 London Games, if there was any doubt on the matter at all. He then went on to add that he would partner whoever the All India Tennis Association (AITA) had nominated him to play with - Vishnu Vardhan in the men's doubles and Sania Mirza in the mixed.
The statement said, "I'm here to play sport and not politics. I'm looking forward to representing my country with the teams that the All India Tennis Association has selected. Unfortunately, I see the games being played within games. As much as that is very disheartening, I am looking forward to playing my sixth Olympics for my country as I have played for 22-years for the people and the flag."
Paes at first refused to take any questions on the events surrounding the Olympics selection on June 15th, but later, while steering clear of tougher topics like - Sania's press statement that slammed the demands made by Paes and his Olympian father Vece or even how he planned to prepare for the quadrennial Games with a partner (Sania) he hadn't bothered to play a single Grand Slam with - he spoke about preparing for the Games in general.
Paes said he would be playing World Team Tennis in the United States as preparation for the Olympics, which will be played on grass at Wimbledon from July 28. "I believe it'll be a wet July here, so it makes sense for me to get away and get match practice," he said.
Paes, set to make a record sixth Olympic appearance, said all the players on the Indian team were professional and knew what was expected of them. "The only one I need to worry about is Vishnu," he said before adding, "I don't think he's been to Wimbledon before. I don't even know if he has grass-court shoes, poor guy. So it's a bit of a tough one. But he's a really good kid, I'm happy to play with him. And I really like him. Whatever the obstacles are, which I see are going to be many, as an experienced professional athlete, I look to help my partners out."
While Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna refused to partner Paes in the men's doubles, Sania has made her preference to partner Bhupathi clear. The mixed-doubles sign in for the Olympics is July 31. "Every Olympics has some nonsense coming with it," Paes said, "I know how much hard work goes into what I do. Either people choose to respect it, which I'm very lucky that most of India does, or people choose to disrespect. That's their problem, not mine. I deserve to play my sixth Olympics and be in the history books. No one can stop me."