(To the captain, Mr. Rohit Rajpal)
How impressed are you with the current form of all your players?
All of them look in great shape. We have had some nice sessions here, and everybody has been playing some tournaments. So they are reasonably sharp coming from tournaments, it is not like they are coming from practice directly in there. Yeah, everything is coming together really well. And we hope to play some good tennis over the weekend.
So, you are optimistic?
Absolutely, always optimistic. I mean you know, like I said, Indians are known for their spirit and we will fight till the last point.
Are you in favor of the new format of the Davis Cup, especially the two set matches?
Yeah, they have shortened the rubbers. It depends on every team, how their players are. So it is obviously faster and the matches are very compact. I think certain players and some teams will have an advantage. And it evens out a little bit because having long matches for a lot of players earlier was difficult for recovery.
(To Leander Paes)
What is the secret behind the longevity of Indian tennis players? Mr. Vijay Amrtraj played till when he was 43 and you are now 46?
I think the secret is about passion and having fun. If you enjoy what you do and if you have great teammates, it keeps you going. Looking back at the past, I grew up with Zeeshan Ali in Calcutta. His uncle and father were my first coaches. And then when I was twelve years old, I joined our captain (tapping on Mr. Rohit Rajpal’s shoulder), and he used to beat me up every Saturday, constantly losing against him 6-0, 6-1. That is where I learned to enjoy tennis. You have to learn to have fun on the field. Also, I had great partners and couples, Martina Hingis, Martina Navratilova, and Ivan Lendl. Such names motivate you and help you find yourself again. That is, they help you find new motivation.
You have to be adaptable and constantly learning. Throughout my career I was able to find a new fitness regimen, I changed my daily habits, I changed my strokes, my momentum. I am truly blessed to have a career like this and I am proud to start my 30th Davis Cup in Zagreb this time.