Chennai:Ace Davis Cupper Leander Paes considers young Somdev Devvarman as the player who could carry forward Indian tennis on his shoulders after the retirement of Mahesh Bhupathi and himself.
"No doubt, Somdev is a talented boy and works hard. Most importantly, he has got some good people around him. He is the ideal player to carry the mantle of Indian tennis on his shoulders," Paes said when asked who after Bhupathi and himself would lead Indian tennis.
Asked about his onfield chemistry with Lukas Dlouhy of Czech Republic with whom he came up with some superb performances last year, Paes gave full credit to his partner.
"In 2008, we played only five months starting at French Open and we were playing catch up to the rest of the field. However, we managed to enter the yearend Masters Cup with good performances in Wimbledon, Toronto Masters and US Open.
"Even though we were new team and he was concentrating more on singles, Lukas put his best foot forward whenever he walked into the court with me. We share an excellent chemistry. But I think we have to learn a lot as a team. He has good ground strokes and his backhand is amazing which compliments with my style. I have had several doubles partner and Lukas is right there up," Paes said.
Explaining why he chose to hire a coach in Rick Leach, Paes said, "At 35 to have a coach is to make sure I go to the gym and yoga everyday. I am still capable of winning. Lukas is a predominately singles player but Rick has plenty of doubles tactics under his sleeves."
Paes, who is running a sports management firm, said he has lot on his plate at the moment.
"I am running my own sports management company. I manage some athletes - Jayasuriya and Muralitharan - and raise funds. I design clothes and sports infrastructure.