Nothing less than a gold medal: Leander

Ace Indian tennis player Leander Paesis setting his eyes on nothing less than the gold medal in the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

updated: May 24, 2008 09:09 IST
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New Delhi:

Ace Indian tennis player Leander Paes, who became the first in four decades to clinch an individual Olympic medal in 1996, is setting his eyes on nothing less than the gold medal in the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

Paes, who won the bronze medal in Atlanta Olympic Games, vowed to come out with no-hold-barred efforts to fetch the highest honour for India alongwith Mahesh Bhupathi.

"We are quite satisfied with our training programmes and looking at nothing but the gold in men's doubles in the Beijing Olympic Games," the 34-year-old Leander said here today.

"It is great honour for any player to represent his country in the highest level and it's our responsibility to bring the honour back home," Paes said.

Paes defeated Fernando Meligeni of Brazil to win the bronze medal 12 years ago and since then has cherished the dream of clinching a gold medal for the country.

"I think we will successfully carry out the stint in the competition, in which I am participating for fifth time on the trot," an optimistic Paes, said.

The Davis Cup captain, however, is not ready to say it's his last chance to play in Olympic Games.

"I am not looking at Beijing Games as my last Olympics. I don't know where to stop. I can go on to play in the 2012 edition in London," he said.

Paes, however, rubbished speculation about any differences with Bhupathi, which could hamper their doubles performance.

Asked whether there were any cold vibes between the duo, Paes said, "We have played together for around eight long years.

So I don't think there is lack of understanding between us. We are the true contenders in Beijing Games." The Paes-Bhupathi pair warded off a remarkable victory in their Davis Cup tie against Japan earlier this year, which has raised the hope for a medal in the Beijing Olympics.

Citing the "satisfactory" performance during their Davis Cup tie against Japan, Paes said they can still bank on each other in the court.

"Everything is proceeding in right direction. We have recently played in Davis Cup together and it paid back. We have shown tremendous performance while playing together after a long time," Paes said.

The tennis star also has some words of praise for his new doubles partner Lukas Dlouhy of Czech Republic for the upcoming French Open.

Paes recently split with his Australian partner Paul Hanley and decided to play with Dlouhy in the French Open.

Exuding confidence over his new doubles partner, Paes said, "After breaking up with Hanley, I was looking for a partner and zeroed on him after doing my homework." "All other teams had five months to prepare, while we are left with little time.

Though we are starting from behind, I am hopeful about good performance in the Grand Slam," Paes said.

He, however, confessed that it is very difficult to manage with so many other tournaments in the Olympic year.