Leander Paes Biography: The Incredible Story of India’s Greatest Tennis Player

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leander paes

In the list of the greatest names in Indian as well as world tennis Leander Paes sure secures a very high position. He is definitely a tennis legend in India. Having started his career with the cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar in 1990, Leander Paes has had a long and eventful career. With numerous titles, awards, and records, his life story is as exciting as it can be!

However, life hasn’t been just a joyous ride for him. He has had his share of ups and downs as well as controversies. His dedication to the game, consistency, and superior skill have always brought him under the spotlight. What keeps on motivating him to strive harder through all these years? How he became the tennis star that he is? Does he have any regrets? We decided to delve into the life of this legendary tennis star and discover some very interesting facts about his life.

leander paes
Source: The Bridal Box
About Athlete
Full Name
Leander Adrian Paes
Age
45
Gender
Male
Sport Category
Tennis (Doubles)
Date of Birth
17 June 1973
Hometown
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Height
1.78 m
Weight
74 kg
Coach
Dave O’Meara
Ranking
Doubles 1 (1999) | Singles 73 (1998)
Networth
$ 8 million
Parent
Vece and Jennifer Paes
Children
Aiyana Paes

Leander Paes – The Biography

Family and Early Life

leander paes with mom
Source: successstory.com

Leander Paes started playing at the tender age of 5. Having sports champions in the family definetly helped in gain the right guidance and support. His father is an Olympic champion himself.  He played hockey for India.

Plus, he is also a doctor of medicine. Leander has sporting genes from both sides of the family. His mother is an athlete as well. She played basketball for India and captained the team in the 1980 Asian basketball championship. They both imbibed a sporting discipline and passion in Leander. No wonder that Leander gives the most credit to his parents for his success.

Leander joined the Britannia Amritraj Tennis Academy in Chennai. The academy played a key role in shaping his career.

Career

leander paes
Source: scroll.in

Leander Paes has eight doubles and ten mixed doubles grand slam titles. He is one of the most successful doubles players in the world. He won his first Wimbledon Junior title in 1990 and became the world number one junior player. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games, he won the bronze medal in the singles category.

The very same year, he partnered with Mahesh Bhupathi. Very soon, their partnership became legendary. By 1998, they reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open, the French Open as well as the US Open.

Their excellent performances at the Grand Slams continued and they won the doubles titles at the 1999 Wimbledon and French Open. The very same year, Leander became world number one doubles player. He won the French Open again with Bhupathi in 2001.

In 2002, the pair went on the win the gold medal at the Asian Games in Busan. His winning streak continued with the Australian Open and Wimbledon wins in 2003. He partnered with Martina Navratilova this time.

The year 2006, finally added a US Open doubles title to Leander’s portfolio. Unfortunately the very-talented pair of Paes and Bhupathi couldn’t win a Olympic medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

His success at the grand slams continued with wins at the French Open and US Open men’s doubles in 2009. In 2010, Paes won the Australian Open mixed doubles title along with Cara black.

The next couple of years were a little disappointing for Leander Paes. However, he came back with a bang by winning the 2013 US Open men’s double title along with Radek Stepanek.

In 2014, Leander added the Malaysian Open men’s doubles titles to his repertoire. In 2015, he won the Australian Open and US Open Mixed Doubles along with Martina Hingis.

His journey has been truly inspiring. However, his humility is also evident from the gratitude he displays. In an interview with India Today, he beautifully summed up the part various people have played in this incredible journey.

I have been utmost lucky to have these people. My parents, my daughter, my coaches, my trainers, my confidants, my team mates, I have played with 113 doubles partners. That’s a lot. I have been able to look at their strengths and weaknesses to not change them but reinvent myself to adjust to their game and than we win Grand Slams together. For me as a student of life that has been my methodology that I keep growing, that I keep learning. One of the people I look up to is Nadal, Federar in my sport, let alone the Mohammed Alis and Michel Jordans, the Sachin Tendulkars, the Vishy Anands. You look at Virat Kohli the way he reinvents his game.

Davis Cup

Leander Paes is the most successful doubles player in the history of Davis Cup. He has record 43 doubles wins! He also holds the record of 24-match unbeaten streak. He made this record with Mahesh Bhupathi.

Doubles Partners

leander paes with mahesh bhupathi
Source: India Today

Leander has had over 100 doubles partners in his long tennis career. However, his pairing with Mahesh Bhupathi is perhaps the most popular. Though the pair has had their differences, they have won numerous titles together.

Talking about his relationship with his long time partner Mahesh Bhupati to India Today, Paes said, ‘Especially to have him for doubles on the bench. I hadn’t thought of it much before but while we were having conversations on the table, Mahesh had a lot to add on doubles. Because the communication between Mahesh, Rohan and me; we all understand the nuances of top class doubles. If you look at conversations Mahesh and I can have because of the camaraderie we have had, we know each other very well, we know doubles very well. We have so much respect for each other that regardless of our differences as people, we are very different as characters; when it comes to playing for the country we always put the country first.”

Leander Paes – Net Worth

Leander Paes has won $8,274,127 in prize money. His current net worth is approximately $8 million. Paes also owns a Porsche Cayenne Car worth $60,000. He has earned well through his numerous brand endorsements  as well.

Leander Paes Controversy

leander paes with ex wife
Source: Success Stories

Last few years have been particularly difficult for Leander Paes. He was living in with model Rhea Pillai since the year 2005. The couple is blessed with a daughter Aiyana. Unfortunately, since they broke up, the couple has been embroiled in a bitter custody and maintenance controversy. According to Rhea, Leander and she were married, whereas Leander has denied the marriage. On top of everything, their daughter has been diagnosed with brain tumour. Due to added medical expenses, Rhea is asking for added alimony. The controversy hasn’t solved yet and the case is going on in the court.

Leander Paes – Interesting Facts

  • Leander made his Bollywood debut with a lead role in the movie Rajdhani Express.
  • Being a tennis champion is no mean feat. It means lots of lonely hours, immense hard work, and missing out on numerous things. Ever since he started playing professional tennis, Leander couldn’t spend as much time as he wanted with his family. However, in case of his daughter, he has come with a strict rule for himself. He never misses her birthday or Christmas.
leander paes with daughter
The father-daughter duo (Source: Tennis World USA)
  • Leander Paes is a Board Director of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation that supports upcoming athletes to train for the Olympics.
  • He also holds the record of being the oldest player to win a Grand Slam.
  • Leander Paes has won Wimbledon titles in three different decades! He is only the second man after Rod Laver to achieve this feat.
  • He is also the only tennis player to participate in seven Olympic Games. He made appearances from 1992-2016.
  • Paes is part of the team Washington Kastles at the World TeamTennis.
  • Leander Paes is the sports ambassador of Haryana state.

The Road Ahead

Leander has had a really long career. The reason he has been able to sustain his position is his ability to reinvent his game. He has time and again mentioned how the journey has always been more important to him than the destination. He knows he will never really quit tennis, but he isn’t greedy. He is at a stage in his life where his career has been very fruitful. Even if he decides to retire today, he will be happy with his graph. That is indeed a true sign of success, isn’t it?

“I am at peace with what I have achieved. I am not sure many people realise the hard yards and the loneliness and the hours’ it takes to be a world champion. I don’t know how many more years I will be able to stretch it,” he told the India Today in an interview.

Leander Paes has entertained and made us proud for 28 years now. Wow! We would love to see him bring home the Olympic medal in tennis doubles at the 202 Tokyo Olympics. However, considering his age and multitude of achievements, his career is already extremely inspiring. He is indeed a true tennis hero.

Famous Quote

“I never quit… the word means nothing to me!” – Leander Paes

Awards

  • Arjuna Award, 1990
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, 1997
  • Padma Shri, 2001
  • Padma Bhushan, 2014

Achievements

  • Doubles
  • Career Titles: 55
  • Grand Slam Doubles
  • Australian Open (2012), French Open (1999, 2001, 2009), Wimbledon (1999), US Open (2006, 2009, 2013)
  • Mixed Doubles
  • Career Titles: 10
  • Grand Slam Mixed Doubles
  • Australian Open (2003, 2010, 2015), French Open (2016), Wimbledon (1999, 2003, 2010, 2015), US Open (2015)

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A passionate foodie, a versatile writer, and now a sports enthusiast, Mamta is always open to exploring new avenues. She has a vast experience in Web Content Writing, Editing, and Social Media Management. A self-confessed coffee and dark chocolate addict, she believes in following her heart and giving her 100% into everything she does.

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