The first tennis champion of India, he is also the first Indian tennis player to win an Olympic medal. You might have heard stories of his triumphs along with Mahesh Bhupati, but this is the tale of Leander Paes. A Phenomenon of Indian Tennis.
Childhood & Education of Leander Paes
Leander Adrian Paes was born on 17th June, 1973 in Kolkata, India. His family was from Goa and both his parents were eminent sports personalities. Paes’s father was a part of Indian hockey team when it won the bronze medal in 1972 Munich Olympics. His mother was the captain of the Indian Women Basketball team in 1980 Asian Basketball Championship. He was bright enough to realize that his true calling was tennis and he followed the passion.
Career timeline of Leander Paes
He became a sensation in Junior World tennis circuit by securing the top spot in 1990. He secured this position by winning the Junior Wimbledon Championship and US open. Also, he won his first Davis cup and still the most successful player in the history of Davis cups. This sporting excellence earned him Arjuna Award in 1990. In 1996, Leander became the first tennis player to win an Olympic bronze medal for India. Also, he is the only tennis player and first Indian to have 7 Olympic appearances till now.
He was awarded with Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 1996 and he later partnered with Mahesh Bhupati to create history for India. After entering in the semifinals of 1997 US Open and 3 Grands slams the following year, they created history by winning 2 Grand Slams in 1999. Their names were common on the lips of every Indian after this. They also won the Asian games in 2002 later. In 1998, Leander won the singles ATP title at Newport. This was also the year when he defeated the tennis legend Pete Sampras in the ATP tournament held in New Haven. Martina Navratilova was his partner in the doubles event at Wimbledon and the Australian open and they won both the grand slams in mixed doubles category.
Legacy of Leander Paes
- He will be remembered for having the most number of wins in the Davis cup. 42
- He was the most valuable player by World Team Tennis in 2009 and 2011
- NDTV honored him with the Global Greatest Living Legend award in 2013. CNN-IBN also followed the suit for his outstanding achievements. He is the oldest man to ever win a grand slam
- After partnering with Martina Hingis in 2015,, he won almost all grand slams coming their way, be it the mixed doubles trophy in French Open of 2016 or Australian, Wimbledon or US open of 2015
- He has won 18 grand slams including 10 mixed doubles and 8 men’s doubles
There is no other tennis player near his records. In a true sense, he has been a key person to push Indian tennis forward and we salute him for that. Hope we get more such talents in the country in the years to come. Do you have an inspirational sports story to tell? Please reach out to us on [email protected]