Leander Paes claimed his first title of the 2018 season along with American partner James Cerretani following an easy win in the final of the Newport Beach Challenger event.
Paes and Cerretani, seeded second, dispatched giant-killers Treat Huey and Denis Kundla a 6-4 7-5 in just around 90 minutes.
With this win at Newport, Paes has won 25 Challenger level doubles titles in addition to the 54 ATP doubles titles during his illustrious career.
At 44, with 18 Grand Slam titles and an Olympic medal in his cupboard, Leander Paes is finding it “tough to set new goals” but still spent his off-season getting stronger to remain relevant in modern day tennis, which is being dominated by brute power.
Many of his contemporaries have become coaches and many of his juniors have already hung racquets but this Indian legend’s hunger for tennis is far from satiated.
During a recent interaction with a news agency, Leander Paes said, “For me the off-season is about skill, endurance, weights, core, back, reinventing my game because now the game has become physical. All these boys are 6’3″, 6’5″. They are so strong, that your reaction time becomes less because the ball is being hit so hard. Building power means that the serve can be powerful. The forehand can be stronger. You can come back with a new style of doubles. So, the off-season for me is more about physical fitness and also about setting new goals because I am finding it very tough to set new goals.”
“Right now I am going through a beautiful part of my tennis career, where I don’t need to prove anything. To be able to still control the ball to be still able to command the court, it still motivates me.”
Recently, Leander Paes had an impressive run along with Purav Raja in the Australian Open 2018, where they went on to topple the number five seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares in the second round, before going down to the eventual runner-up Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah in the pre-quarters.