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Since 1st March, 1999
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Doc Paes flies off to Orlando
- I spoke to Leander, he sounded crestfallen ... One can’t imagine this could happen to such a lively guy: Naresh Kumar

Calcutta: Dr Vece Paes spent a very tense day as he prepared for his journey to Orlando to be with his ill son. It was late afternoon when The Telegraph caught up with him at his residence.

Leander has been admitted to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center on Tuesday after complaining of severe headache for three days.

“I spoke to Leander this morning. He is obviously very nervous. But he has surely stabilised,” said a visibly moved Dr Paes.

“All the tests till now are negative. But then, because the tests are negative there hasn’t been any diagnosis as yet. When I reach Orlando, things will be a lot clearer,” he added.

“He will be out of action for the next one month,” Dr Paes said, meaning that he will be out of all engagements that fall in that period.

“He initially suspected it (headache) to be due to dehydration. He will not be able to play the US Open and is also out of the Davis Cup (World Group qualifying tie against The Netherlands from September 19-21) at this stage,” Dr Paes confirmed.

This isn’t the first time Dr Paes has rushed to his son’s hospital bedside in the US. “Five years back he had an attack of malignant malaria. I had rushed similarly to the US then too,” he said before tearing off to catch his flight to Mumbai en route to the US.

Leander’s mother Jennifer isn’t hurrying to her son and can only spend an agitated few days. “It’s so worrying. It’s quite terrible here. I don’t know how this has suddenly happened…”

“Thanks a lot for your concern for my son… And please, please pray for him,” an obviously tense Jennifer said over the phone.

Leander’s sister Jackie also expressed her concern. “I have been very worried from last night. But I had to keep myself busy the whole day, trying not to think too much. All I can do is pray that he recovers soon.”

Former India great and former non-playing Davis Cup captain Naresh Kumar sounded shocked over the news. “I talked to him for about 35 minutes. He sounded crestfallen. I tried to cheer him up and wished him best of luck.

“It will be a huge loss for India in the forthcoming Davis Cup. He plays three matches, so it’s going to be a virtual whitewash. Though he didn’t say he will not be available for the Davis Cup, it’s unlikely he will take part. However, he shouldn’t rush things.”

“One couldn’t imagine this could happen to him, he is such a lively guy,” Naresh Kumar added. “I’ve seen him grow up, personally I’m very upset with it. Anyway, these things happen in life, he is a strong guy and I’m sure he’ll get over it.”

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