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Paes eyes more Grand Slam crowns

Last updated on: February 03, 2010 22:23 IST

Leander PaesDespite winning a record-equalling 11th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open Leander Paes is still not satisfied.

"I would love to win five or six more Grand Slams. I would love to take part in my sixth Olympics," the Indian ace declared at a media interaction in Bangalore on Wednesday.

Paes, who equalled Mahesh Bhupathi's Indian record for most Slam trophies last week, after wining the mixed doubles trophy at the Australian Open with partner Cara Black, said he has always enjoyed his stay in Australia, and the recent attacks on the Indians Down Under is "unfortunate".

"It is very unfortunate the way things have been going on in India and Australia. I have had long relations with Australians. Tony Roche coached me for three-and-a-half years in Sydney, where I lived with his family.

"Bob Carmichael, one of the greatest coaches in my life, taught me how to play the game of doubles. I lived with him in Melbourne. I can speak for myself that I have had some amazing interactions with them," he said.

Australia had forfeited its Davis Cup tie against India last year because of security concerns, but Paes was hopeful that things will get better.

"Whether it is tennis or cricket, people of Australia and India have shared a great professional relationship. I believe that sports should be one of those vehicles to bridge good ties between countries.

"I hope it is not far that India and Australia continue to have ties and get over the few incidents that have happened in the near past," he added.

He said cinema is something that has always intrigued him.

"If down the track the right script, right director, movie and project comes along, I would love to explore the actor in me. But I haven't signed any role or movie yet. I believe that there is a time and place for everything," he added.

Talking about India's upcoming Davis Cup World Group tie against Russia, he said it will not be smooth sailing, but fancied the team's chances of pulling off an upset.

India qualified for the World Group after 11 years, following a convincing 4-1 win over South Africa in the play-off tie.

"Playing Russia in the Davis Cup is a very, very tough tie for us, let alone in their own back yard. (Nikolay) Davydenko was world number one. He won the World Masters, beating Federer in the final.

"They have got an amazing depth, but I always felt the Indian Davis Cup team has been able to create some wonderful upsets and my Davis Cup record goes to show that. Anything can happen in the Davis Cup. To come away with a win will be magical."

He also said that he and Bhupathi will have to perform consistently to keep their place in the side as younger players are doing extremely well.

"If both of us are injury-free, definitely we are the best team out there. Both of us have to be aware that there are few guys out there who are wonderful doubles players.

"The way that Somdev Devvarman and Sanam Singh did at the Chennai Open. Rohan has done well. So we have some guys right on our heels. We need to keep performing well to keep our place in the team," he reckoned.

Asked how he fancies his chances of winning a medal at the Commonwealth and Asian Games, he replied, "I have always done well when it comes to playing for the country. These two events are no different to me. Tennis being included for the first time in the Commonwealth Games is a big stage for me to come out and perform. I look forward to it."

Paes insisted he had to skip the Chennai Open last month to acclimatise with Australian conditions but hinted that there was more to it than meets the eye.

"I missed the Chennai Open this year unfortunately to go into Australia early. I got to Brisbane, played in Auckland. Heading out early to Australia was to give myself enough time to acclimatize and prepare there.

"I love playing in front of my own crowd, I love playing in India. It was unfortunate that I was not welcomed as well as I normally am. To me it seems to have paid off. Coming away with a victory in the first Grand Slam of the year is great."

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