47-year-old Paes is the first Indian and the only tennis player to participate in seven Olympic Games. Paes has played in every Olympic edition from the 1992 Barcelona Games to the most recent one in Rio de Janerio in 2016.
He is also the only Indian tennis player with an Olympic medal, having won the singles bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
“I am aware of the French Open, the Wimbledon, and also the Olympics. The three big ones in the near future and that’s what I will be focusing on," Leander Paes told PTI. "I have always been a patriot and believe that the only best players should represent the country (at the Olympics)."
Paes, a former World No. 1 in doubles, is ranked No. 139 in the latest ATP rankings and is currently the fifth highest-ranked Indian in the world rankings. Paes will need to improve his ranking in the coming months to ensure a direct entry into the doubles event at the Olympics.
The world rankings as of June 7, 2021 will be used to determine who gains entry into the Tokyo Olympics.
The enforced lockdown helped me spend quality time with family: Leander Paes
Leander Paes had earlier announced that 2020 would be his last season on the professional tour. However, the pandemic-induced break and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 have made him reconsider his options.
The 18-time Grand Slam winner went on to add that the enforced break due to the global pandemic has rejuvenated him after he spent quality time with his family. Paes's last competitive appearance was the Davis Cup tie for India against Croatia last March, just before the tennis tour shut down.
"By the end of 2019, I was jaded and tired from all the traveling and playing at the highest level. The enforced lockdown helped me spend quality time with my dad, my mom, my daughter, and I was rejuvenated," added Paes.
Paes further revealed that he has begun training rigorously in recent weeks and is working his way back to regaining his rhythm.
"I have begun training hard, back to my diet, and have lost 6 kgs in three weeks. I am getting back into my rhythm."