Calcutta: It’s too early to talk of when Leander Paes can get back to the tennis court. There are still nine weeks for the season to get over and the earliest he can resume tennis, it seems at this stage, is mid-September.
Due for a one-week reunion with Mahesh Bhupathi at the Long Island meet this week, Paes is straightaway ruled out of the US Open where he and Martina Navratilova would have been gunning for a rare third Grand Slam mixed doubles crown in a year.
More significantly, from the country’s point of view, he is a non-starter for the Davis Cup World Group play-off tie in The Netherlands. A couple of events in Asian circuit, including the inaugural Thai Open where he had been granted a singles wild card, followed by two Masters Series meets in Europe, would have taken Paes through to the year-ending doubles masters championship in Houston.
He and David Rikl, currently No. 4 team in the ATP Doubles Race, would have been certainties for the Houston Masters championship which brings together the top eight teams in the world.
Finishing the year in the top three was, in fact, an ambition Paes had nurtured and he was well on course, too. But that dream could get shattered now that fate has intervened rather cruelly.
Even Dr Vece Paes is not too sure. “We’ll have to wait for all the tests to be done… I’ll be there by Thursday evening and will be in a better position to judge,” Dr Paes said.
As things stand now, he doesn’t think surgery will be needed. “We’ll know in a few days… I’m hoping for the best.”