The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Father’s presence calms Leander

Calcutta/Washington, Aug. 24: A preliminary medical report allaying fears of a tumour and the presence of father Vece Paes — a doctor himself — are working well for Leander Paes at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando.

“Leander is a lot more relieved…. More comfortable now,” Dr Paes said from Orlando. “We are awaiting confirmation of the preliminary report from the final authority (Center for Disease Control, Atlanta).”

That report will be available tomorrow. “The initial report does indicate that there is no tumour,” said Dr Paes. He added: “Mentally, he is better placed. The fact that I am here is also helping, since I can explain the medical jargon to him…. Last night was probably the most comfortable he has felt since being admitted a week back.”

Sanjay Singh, his personal trainer, said Leander has been practising yoga when not on drip and has been meditating.

Leander appears to have endeared himself to the hospital’s ethnically diverse staff with his jokes, perhaps in an effort to make himself laugh as well.

The tennis ace has thus far shunned reporters, but there is a possibility of a media conference being held tomorrow after the final result is known. Leander may be present there.

The only calls he is now taking are those from mother Jennifer Paes, step-mother Julie, Naresh Kumar, Mahesh Bhupathi and a couple of close friends.

“So many people are trying to get through. He would have to be yapping away all day, that’s not advisable,” his father said.

The idea of the news conference has sprung from the necessity to keep people in India informed.

“The concern and curiosity over Leander’s progress have been so very genuine. We must make sure they get the right information,” Dr Paes said.

“It was extremely nice of the hospital to agree to such a thing…. Obviously, they have seen what a special person Leander is to his countrymen.”

He continues to receive a medication of anti-bodies to fight unknown infections.

Doctors, unfamiliar with certain tropical infections, are learning up on such diseases in preparation for acting on the final results. Their counterparts from India have been sending reams of information.

Dr Paes said: “He should be out of hospital in a week or 10 days.”

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