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Leander Paes wants to help India become an athletic race, feels 'sports is a viable business'

The tennis star, who has spent 30 years on the ATP circuit, is now looking to give back to what he calls his labour of love.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Nov 02, 2019, 05.50 PM IST
Paes said that out of India's 1.4 billion people only one per cent play sport.
Eighteen Grand Slam winner, Leander Paes has eight men's doubles and ten mixed doubles titles to his name. But now, the 46-year-old wants to give back to his country and sport. At an event in Mumbai recently, the Olympic bronze-medal winner said, "I am balancing my tennis as well as other avenues to help India become an athletic race. I think we are quite intellectual. You see the top doctors in the world -Indian, top business people - Indian, top bankers - Indians. Sport now is a viable business. Money that is out there is great, we keep growing."

With India as No 1 in obesity and diabetes, Paes feels a lot needs to be done.

"If you go down to the grassroot levels - I was blessed with a good sporting DNA and knowledge. It needs to be spread. In a population of 1.4 billion people only one per cent plays sport. Out of that only one per cent can be champions. If we take it to the masses, we can be a healthier community. Then we will have numbers and I feel as you grow the pyramid then in 10-15 years you can expect more medals," he explained.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are at hand and the tennis player feels India has a lot that needs to be done.

"Being an Olympic champion - the work my parents put in, the coaches and trainer put into me has helped me. Since my one medal in 1996, shooting, badminton, wrestling, boxing have brought in medals. When we go to the Olympics, we save ourselves and bring one medal. If we can change this pyramid, I think we have a chance to come back with many medals. That is very attractive to me, I want to be part of it," he ended.

Game, Set, Split: Naomi Osaka And Other Tennis Aces Who Parted Ways From Their Coaches

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An Unhappy Coach

19 Mar, 2019
The coming together of Djokovic (R) and Becker (L) as player and coach caught the world’s imagination in 2013. The Serbian star went on to win six Grand Slams under Becker and held all four major titles. However, three years later, the pair parted ways and it was clear that Becker wasn’t too happy. Speaking about Djokovic, he said, “He didn’t spend as much time on the practice court in the last six months as he should have, and he knows that.”

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