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Paes criticises India's poor mixed-doubles team choice for Rio 2016

  • Leander Paes spoke to the media after his Davis Cup doubles match on Sunday.
  • Paes was partnered by Saketh Myneni against Olympic champions Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez.
  • The Indian tennis ace did not hesitate in expressing that India did not send their best mixed-doubles players at Rio.
Leander Paes criticises poor mixed doubles team choice for Rio 2016
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The bitterness of not getting a shot at the Olympics mixed doubles event continues to rankle Leander Peas and the veteran Indian tennis star has no qualms in stating that the country did not send its best team in the event to Rio.

 

"I can very clearly say that in the previous two editions of the Olympics, we didn't put the best team forward. What more does a man need to do than win four Grand Slams in 14 months? There were no more tournaments to win; I could not create anymore tournaments. Long story short, let's nurture these kids," Paes said referring to his fantastic mixed double run leading up to the Games.

 

Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna were picked to represent India in the Rio 2016 and the duo lost in the semi-finals before going down in the bronze medal playoff as well.

 

Paes was speaking to the media after partnering Saketh Myneni in a hard-fought men's doubles loss to Olympic champions Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez in the ongoing Davis Cup. The 43-year-old said he would love to partner Myneni in the circuit as well.

 

Read more: It was a pleasure to play Leander Paes in his country: Rafa Nadal

 

"I always believe that the selection committee and the captain decide the final team. However, considering the way we played against a gold medal winning team and that too against 14-time Grand Slam champion it will be crazy to switch anything around but having said that I am here to support the team," the 43-year-old said.

 

"We have the Asian Games coming up in 18 months and the Olympics in four years. Whether I am around or not around, we need to nurture these guys or else four years from now it will again be a tussle who is playing and who is not.

 

"I would love to play with him (Saketh). I had a lot of partners who are much less talented than him. If I get Saketh for six months and if he keeps working hard, he can win a Grand Slam with others not just with me," he added.

 

Paes heaped praise on Myneni, saying that the youngster has it in him to be a Grand Slam winner.

 

"This guy can be a Grand Slam winner; he is a hell of a player. I am excited because Saketh and I played for the first time together. I'm impressed with his serve and return. I think he is a natural hard court player and an excellent leader. After playing with 107 players, I know his personality is not so bad.

 

"He gets out there, and even in tough situations he would say 'Lee crack your return'. I like that someone is working with the perspective of winning. I enjoyed playing, and if we can have 4-5 matches together we will do well to build a partnership here," he said.

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