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April 3, 2010

Lukas Dlouchy

Leander Paes


6-2, 7-5

THE MODERATOR: The 2010 champions. This is their fourth APT world tour title together.
Last year they won, of course, Roland Garros and US Open, and their first title in 2010.
Questions for the guys.

Q. You mentioned on the court that it's your daughter's fourth birthday today.
LEANDER PAES: Yes, it is. I got 10,000 kids in my orphanage, and I got one of my own. Today is the birthday of one of my own.
I miss her like crazy, and this tour is kind of hard when you have to stay away from her. I think on special days like this, as much as we miss our family, I've got my family here. That's why I go out there and play with my heart, play with my little girl in my heart. God was kind to me.

Q. Where is your daughter?
LEANDER PAES: She's back in Bombay. I'm flying out tomorrow to her.

Q. Bombay?

Q. And I also wanted to ask you, is it right that this is your 15th time in the Miami tournament and this is your first title?
LEANDER PAES: Oh, jeez, you make may feel old. I think I first came here when I was about --

Q. I saw in a note that this is the 15th time playing here and your first title.
LEANDER PAES: It's actually one of my favorites tournaments. I lived in Orlando, Florida for the last 18 years.

Q. I remember that.
LEANDER PAES: So I'm a Florida boy. I love playing out here when the weather is good. It's just magic. The crowd gets into it.
I guess with a little bit of Portuguese heritage the crowd kind of recognize the name and they come out and support me pretty good. So I enjoy it.

Q. And the Portuguese is on your dad's side?

Q. Do you speak Portuguese?
LEANDER PAES: We speak a dialect of Portuguese and Sanskrit. It's called Konkani. More Brazilian Portuguese rather than...

Q. Okay. Question for both. How did you find your partner as like a player and a person?
LEANDER PAES: I'm gonna let him go first, because then I get him later.
LUKAS DLOUHY: I didn't understand. (Laughter.)
No, playing with him, it's always great because he has my back always. When I'm struggling with something, he's always with me on the same side and always tell me that nothing happened. We make it like a team.
So it's always helps you when you know that you are together, you are like brothers. That's the magic of the team, I think.

Q. And you, Leander.
LEANDER PAES: I think that the key to anything in life is to make sure that you give comfort to the person you're with. For me, I think when you look at traveling 35 weeks a year, you win some finals and lose some finals.
What's important is to make a great friend, to make a brother. So I've always got his back no matter what. If I mess up one day, no problem; if he mess up one day, no problem.
I think that when you give freedom to someone to explore their magic, because he's got a lot of magic, they actually feel free to improve their tennis.
For me, tennis is a way of life; it's not just about a profession and winning money or being No. 1 in the world. It's an inward express. Lukas actually is quite young in his tennis career. It's beautiful to see him explore.
Sometimes is does get tough for him or for me when we see doing -- ourselves doing different things. But we always pull together as a team. For me I think unconditional love is the key to anything in life, and he's always got that from me.

Q. How did you first pair up?
LUKAS DLOUHY: We took few beers. (Laughter.)
LEANDER PAES: Yeah, there's a pretty good bar at Prime 112, so we got a few beers there. (Laughter).
I've had my eye on Lukas for a long time. I played with several different partners, and I do a lot of research behind that. Like I said, for me, tennis, at this stage after -- I think after you've won enough, earned enough, won enough Grand Slams, been No 1, it's about keeping on improving, finding new ways to improve.
Playing with Lukas actually give different dimensions to my mind. It makes me think out of the box on how to get the team to perform. I actually never talk tennis to him, because there's nothing I can teach him about that.
He's got more talent in one arm that I've got in my whole body. I give him freedom to explore that talent. Give him that comfort, that unconditional support to say, Let's work hard today. Let's work hard today. This is our job at the end of the day.
So we come out and work hard. I'm really pleased to say that in the last few months, four, five, six months, he's improved a lot as a person off the court, and that's why his tennis has gotten better.
Curry muncher, you've got to have a question back there. Come on now. When I see you in the room, I know something is up.

Q. What's is your daughter's name?
LEANDER PAES: Aiyana. Means eternal bloom. Hey' guys. What's happening baby?

Q. When did you have a daughter?
LEANDER PAES: Four years ago today.

Q. I didn't know you were married.

Q. Oh, well that's okay. (Laughter.) How did you guys get together and why?
LUKAS DLOUHY: In Monte-Carlo two years ago. We met each other on the stairs from the practice courts. Basically, we ask like, You want to play Paris with me, each other, and we start.

Q. Two lonely guys, huh?
LEANDER PAES: Yeah, kind of romantic, no? French Riviera just looking down on the water.

Q. Oh, we met at Monte-Carlo. That is romantic.
LEANDER PAES: Come on, Bud. We share the same birthday. You can go with that.

Q. Where to next?
LEANDER PAES: Monte-Carlo. (Laughter.)

Q. Perfect.
LEANDER PAES: Actually head home to Bombay he heads home to Prague. He's got two days to get up to no good a little bit, but midnight on Tuesday he's back to work.
Then we head out to Monte-Carlo and then try and defend our French Open title.

Q. Are you going to the Italian?
LEANDER PAES: Yes. We go Monte-Carlo; Barcelona; Rome; week off, Madrid; week off the French.
What's great actually about doing well this week is there's no pressure now for the rest of the clay court season.
We've got to a final in Brisbane and got to quarters at the Aussie Open. Finals somewhere else, I forget where.

Q. Dubai.
LEANDER PAES: Now there's no pressure. Now we're just playing for cream on the top. I think whenever you go back to a Grand Slam thinking about trying to defend it, it never happens.
And in the history of the game at the French Open, I don't think anyone's defended their title there. So it's kind of fun. I think it's a fun challenge.
That's actually the reason I'm talking about it right now, is to put it into both our heads fresh before we get to Paris. It's kind of a fun challenge to go out there and explore our games, learn, improve every day, have fun with it.
If we win one match it's a bonus. Doesn't matter what happens the rest of the way.

Q. Lukas, as a boy did you admire Wojtek Fibak?
LEANDER PAES: I think -- I know that he's from Poland. That's it what I know. He's a little older than me, so that's why I didn't follow his...

Q. He was too old for you?
LEANDER PAES: I actually ball-boyed for Fibak when he came with Lendl for an exhibition event in Calcutta. I was about seven years old at the time. I've tried for the last 30 years to hit a backhand like him and I can't. He had a pretty good backhand.

Q. Where did you grow up in Poland?

Q. Yeah.
LEANDER PAES: Lukas is from the Czech Republic.
LUKAS DLOUHY: In Pisek. It's a small town 100 kilometers from Prague. When I was 16 I moved to Prague.

Q. Jonas and Max Mirnyi beat the Bryans two years in a row.
LEANDER PAES: At the French?

Q. Yes, from the Bud Collins History of Tennis.
LEANDER PAES: And I know that that is spot on. Jonas and Max Mirnyi have won the French Open two years in a row? So there you go. Someone has done it. That's good. Takes a lot pressure off us now. Thanks, Bud, for writing your book.

Q. You still live in Orlando?
LEANDER PAES: I still have a home there, but Bombay is my home now. Looking at things away from tennis and pretty much exploring other avenues that interest me.

Q. You said about the orphanage. Can you tell me just a little about that.
LEANDER PAES: Started when I was nine years old with my first tennis prize money. I earned about the equivalent of about -- I think it was just under about $1000. I wanted ice cream with all of it.
Dad basically made me take it to Mother Theresa, and she decided to start an orphanage. I had no clue what she was talking about. I kind of said, I want ice cream.
But we started with five kids then. Got them three meals a day, and things started from there. My sponsors pitched in, a bunch of friends, individuals pitched in, and five became ten, ten became 1000, 1000 became 10,000 now. So an it's fun.

Q. It's 10,000 now?
LEANDER PAES: Yeah, 10,000 kids now.

Q. What's the name?
LEANDER PAES: Future Hope. If you get onto www.futurehope.com you won't find my name anywhere there because I don't want any gratification for it.
For me it's just pure motivation. Literally pure motivation to help more kids than just my own in the world. I think if we all did that, it will be the better place.

Q. So do you donate some of the prize money from like here?
LEANDER PAES: 15% of my yearly income, no matter what I earn it with, goes there. And plus also I get sponsors, friends to come and pitch in. We're really lucky with kids , because for us -- we never ever had to ask for anything.
I've got some pretty cool friends who have always come in and feel like they have to give back to the world.

Q. In tennis our outside tennis?
LEANDER PAES: All over. Bollywood, tennis, businessmen, Tata the company Tata come in and pitch in. G.E., coca-cola, adidas used to come in and pitch in. Whole bunch of special men.
Naresh Kumar, you remember Naresh Kumar. He was my first Davis Cup captain. He does lost for Mother Theresa and the kids.

Q. Was there any tennis in the small down you grew up in?
LUKAS DLOUHY: No, actually, I was playing ice hockey. I was in the national team under 15, and then I decided to play tennis.

Q. Why? Why didn't you stick with hockey?
LEANDER PAES: I don't know. That was the mistake. (Laughter.)
No, actually, I was a little afraid to go and play ice hockey match to don't get, I don't know, something happen to me and I cannot play tennis.
So that's why I decide to play only tennis, because there was no time to play both of it on the same like professional level.
So then now I'm just playing ice home hockey every week when I'm in Prague. I'm playing twice a week, and I just love it.

Q. And you don't worry now about getting injured?

Q. What did you think about the Olympic hockey tournament?
LUKAS DLOUHY: For us it was not that good like the years before, but we need to change the generation of players. I think that we gonna be good again.
LEANDER PAES: Who did you guys lose to?
LUKAS DLOUHY: We lost to Finland in the quarters. Never happened.
LEANDER PAES: That's rough. Who won it? Canada?
LUKAS DLOUHY: Yeah, some -- Canada.

Q. Canada beat the U.S. States.
LUKAS DLOUHY: It was a nice match. They score like 20 seconds in the last period, USA scored, and then in over time, Crosby.

Q. I wanted to ask you, do you know Tomas Berdych?
LEANDER PAES: I know him.

Q. What did you think of his chances tomorrow against Andy Roddick?
LUKAS DLOUHY: Actually I hope that if he keeps his level up like last few games, like I was watching this game, he has a pretty good chances because he was returning well.
I think in the rallies and in the like mental thinking in the match he improved a lot from last months. So I hope that he can do better than in Brisbane. In first tournament of the season he lost against Andy a quite tight match, so I wish him all the best.

Q. Did you see him in terms of his improvement a lot of it is in the head?
LUKAS DLOUHY: Yeah. It's obvious that he's playing with these guys, with the top 10 players. Like before he was like a little afraid to play his game against them.
Now he's -- I think he just playing his game and it is working, so I think he has a pretty good game to be in top 10.

Q. What's his reputation back home?

Q. What do people in Czech Republic think about him?
LUKAS DLOUHY: He's a star and nice guy. Still working hard, so people love him.

Q. Does he play hockey with you?
LUKAS DLOUHY: No. He cannot play ice hockey.
LEANDER PAES: Can he skate?
LUKAS DLOUHY: No. Not much.

Q. What position were you in hockey?
LUKAS DLOUHY: At the beginning I was a defender and then I was center.
LEANDER PAES: You know the guy who drops his gloves when the fight breaks out.
LUKAS DLOUHY: No, that was not me. Definitely it was not me. When there was fight I was going to the...

Q. You were running to the side?
LEANDER PAES: Don't believe that. Uh-uh. You should see him in the locker room. My god.

Q. You're gonna celebrate your daughter's birthday then when you get back to Bombay?
LEANDER PAES: Yeah, next Saturday.

Q. You have something planned?

End of FastScripts

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