The postponement of Olympic Games until 2021 has left sports in a sea of doubts. Tennis, of course, is part of that group. Yesterday we put forward the hypothesis that Federer, in anticipation of playing the Games in 2021, will have postponed any possible withdrawal plan and will continue playing on the circuit for at least one more year.
In case of Leander Paes it is even more significant. At the shout of One Last Roar, the Indian legend was contesting what, on paper, should be his last season in the elite. After almost three decades of experience, this year should be the end, and nothing better than doing it on a date that, surely, brings great memories: the Olympic tournament. Competing for medals and representing their nation has always been one of the biggest motivations for the Kolkata-born tennis player, and at 46 years old the Japanese event was not going to be the opposite. It was the perfect ending to a career full of titles, recognition and legendary status in India. Until everything has been truncated.
That damn coronavirus now leaves Paes in a situation no one would want to be in. Already announced his retirement in 2020, the tournament he was preparing for has been canceled, leaving him orphaned of goals. Bronze in Atlanta’96, these were to be his eighth olympic games. Paes spoke to ESPN and gave his feelings about it: “It is very hard. When we go to a competition like the Olympics, athletes try to enter” our area “, as we call it. The pace we need to face the Games It consists of brutal training and a lot of competition. We stopped counting on the month of April and we did not know how many more months we could lose. So I must applaud the IOC and Japan for the decision they have made, with so many millions at stake. The Olympic Games they move the masses, and postponing them is a very brave decision“
Although Leander applauds the position taken by the IOC, this, as we have already mentioned, leaves him at a real crossroads. Will you decide, as you have announced, to end your career in 2020? Or, however, will you stick to your main objective and wait for dispute the Games in 2021, 47 years old in the bag ?: “It is a decision that my team and I are appreciating. My father has been especially insistent that I play longer. He knows me well and knows that once I retire, it is over; there is no return The physique is still there, my mind and my team too. Now I must focus on adapting my physical training to a long time without tennis, which will allow me to take a look at this decision. My team is insistent, they want me to dispute my eighth Olympics and put India in the history books. We will make a decision soon: we will see if we turn this final cry into a really long scream“
Outside of the question that occupies his mind day by day and day too, Paes rests at home and takes all the necessary measures to combat the coronavirus. “I have chosen to be at home and try to cope better with technologies through video conferencing, e-mail, all available channels. I am taking it very seriously, working very hard. I also think about my career after tennis, everyone the commitments I already have arranged. I’m starting a very different transition: with a 75-year-old father and a 13-year-old girl, I have gone from traveling for 40 or 45 weeks a year to trying to ensure that nothing is missing at home and that everything is fine “.