Paes takes a break from national duty
New Delhi: Veteran Indian tennis star Leander Paes will not be seen on national duty this year after getting the AITA's nod to take a break for spending more time with his family.
The decision means that the 40-year-old player will not be available for the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Chinese Taipei later this month, the ties after that and the Asian Games.
"The AITA received a communication from Dr. Vece Paes (Leander's father) on the 2nd January 2014 who after consultations with Mr. Anil Khanna shared Leander Paes's reasons to excuse himself from the forthcoming Davis Cup tie against Chinese Taipei, scheduled to be held in Indore from the 31st January," the All India Tennis Association (AITA) said in a statement.
"Leander has also expressed his inability to be a part of other events in 2014. Leander Paes has been an indispensable pillar of the Indian tennis for the past two decades and being a patriot to the core has always stood up to represent his country whenever called for," it added.
The AITA stated that it had no hesitation in granting Paes the break due to his dedication to the national cause for the past 20 years.
"Considering the magnanimous contribution Leander Paes has made to Indian tennis for the past two decades and completely empathising with his need to spend time with his family, the AITA has taken a decision to respect the wishes communicated by Leander," the statement read.
"He has also expressed happiness that his sitting out of the squad would give an opportunity to the upcoming talented pool of players to showcase their game in front of the home crowd. It is noteworthy, that the game of tennis in India has grown much stronger in the last few years," it said.
The AITA hoped that youngsters would rise to the challenge and do their best to fill the vacuum which would be created by Paes' absence.
"With the present pool of players presenting a strong playing field, it would surely be a tough task to select the Davis Cup squad for the tie against Chinese Taipei.
"The present lot of experienced players like Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna would be well supported by the likes of young guns Yuki Bhambri, Saketh Myneni, Jeevan Neduchezian, Sanam Singh, Divij Sharan, Purav Raja, Sriram Balaji, and Vishnu Vardhan to name a few, and provide for a tough playing combination," it said.
"Captain of the Davis Cup team Anand Amritraj and Coach Zeeshan Ali were present at the Chennai Open to assess the performances of the players before going into consultations with the selection committee to decide on the playing four on the 11th January in Mumbai."