|Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek with the trophy, on Sunday
Calcutta: The “having done it” man was, in the words of father Dr Vece Paes, “cool,” during their 30-minute telephonic chat soon after the US Open men’s doubles final.
By then, Leander (40) had become the oldest Grand Slam winner among men in the Open era. Specifically, from 1968 onwards.
“Leander and I don’t talk much tennis. My job is to keep him grounded and to ensure he stays in good space mentally. The tennis part he takes care of...
“I offered my congratulations, to which Leander responded with ‘having done it’. He was cool,” Dr Paes, one-time hockey Olympian and now a consultant with the Board of Control for Cricket in India, told The Telegraph.
Leander and partner Radek Stepanek weren’t stretched in the final, the win giving the Calcuttan his 14th Grand Slam.
Clearly, the higher-ranked opponents, Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares, appeared overwhelmed by the occasion.
Not that Leander said so, for he “respects” his opponents, no matter what the eventual scoreline.
Like Leander at the presentation and even afterwards, Dr Paes praised Radek for the “tremendous effort” after undergoing neck surgery in January.
Speaking on Monday afternoon, Dr Paes added: “Leander is expected back in India on Wednesday and we had a general discussion on the remainder of the season...
“Leander hasn’t won the world doubles title, that’s one trophy which isn’t in his living room, so his short-term focus is on winning it in London (World Tour finals, November 4-11) this time.”
Dr Paes confirmed that Leander had his sights on the 2016 Olympics, in Rio, but he’d “have to take it season by season.”
“Leander’s 40... At this age, the reality is that no professional sportsman can look too far ahead. We’ll have to take it season by season,” Dr Paes maintained.
Significantly, Leander has already appeared in six Olympics (Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, London) on the trot.
One more and Leander will go past shooter and sports administrator Randhir Singh and have the India record all to himself.
Leander is proud of the six appearances and the bronze in the men’s singles (Atlanta, 1996) has a very special place.
According to Dr Paes, Leander is scheduled to take a short break before heading to Bangkok for the Thailand Open, from September 21-29.
“Leander has four other tournaments lined up before the World Tour finals, but now that he and Radek have earned a direct qualification, there may be a change,” Dr Paes informed.
Owing to school, daughter Aiyana and wife Rhea weren’t cheering at Flushing Meadows, but Leander wasn’t short on support.
He never is.