Some players are born genius and have extraordinary talent among them is tennis legend, Leander Paes. The blue-eyed boy of Indian tennis is a great servant of the game, now on the verge of quitting tennis. Paes has announced to hang up his racket next year. The king of the tennis is gearing up for his last journey on the tennis arena at the Davis Cup World Group Qualifiers after that Tokyo Olympics before his ‘farewell year’ as a tennis player.
Illustrious 3-decade career
Paes’ last assignment for the country would be in the Davis Cup in March and then his participation in Tokyo Olympics. The 47- year old Paes has decided to play in some selected tournaments next year to remain fully fit at least till the Olympics as the curtain of his illustrious career will be down in 2020 that began in 1991.
Paes bags 18 Grand Slam titles
The name of tennis icon Leander Paes will always be taken with respect for his breathtaking display of this game without any controversy in his long career. His discipline on the court is responsible for fulfilling his cupboard with hundreds of trophies including 18 coveted double and mixed double Grand Slam titles. He also won a bronze medal in the singles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and this is another feature of his distinguished career spanning three decades.
Winner of 54 doubles titles
This phenomenal player has achieved a unique feat on the tennis court. He is always considered a giant killer because he never cares about his opponent’s stature as a player. Cool like cucumber Paes never lost his nerve, and he has always stepped on the court intending to play the best possible tennis to entertain the crowd with his game. Paes won z total of 54 doubles titles in his three decades distinguished career.
Paes changes colour in Davis Cup
Leander Paes is always ready to perform for the country as his records in Davis Cup is unbelievable with 43 victories from 56 encounters. Of late he added another feather in his Davis Cup record by winning his 44 doubles match along with debutant Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan as India knocked out arch-rival Pakistan in Nur-Sultan.
India takes on Croatia in next tie
Victory against Pakistan was a sweet one as India booked its spot in next year’s World Group Qualifiers. India’s next tie will be against world number two Croatia to be held on 6 and 7 March next year. India has to travel to Croatia for this important encounter. This might be Leander Paes’ last Davis Cup contest for the country.
Leander represents India in 7 Olympics
One more unparalleled achievement of Paes is that he became the first Indian who served the country in tennis in seven Olympics in a row from 1992 to 2016 Olympics. Although succeeded only once in Olympics yet made the countrymen proud with his marvellous effort.
A great loss for Indian tennis
Former Davis Cup coach of India Akhtar Ali said it would be a great loss for Indian tennis. “He is a wonderful fellow. We all know what he has done for the country. It will be a big loss for tennis”.
Leander’s father was also well satisfied with his son’s performance and said, “I feel happy for him, sometimes you don’t have words. He has been a champion all along and has achieved everything,” said Vece Paes who represented Indian hockey team in the 972 Munich Olympics
Paes-Bhupathi pair bags 26 titles
The pair of Paes and Bhupathi was famous all over the world. This duo bagged 26 doubles titles along with three Grand Slam triumphs. They remained together for many years, but later separated.
A never say die attitude and fire in the belly helped him to improve his game with the time. Hunger of success has assisted this man in becoming one of the greatest and most respected sportspersons in the country. His other distinctive achievement is winning the career grand slam in men’s doubles after winning the Australian Open in 2012.
Continues the legacy of stalwarts
The father-figure of Indian tennis has continued the legacy of Indian stalwarts like Ramanathan Krishnan, Ghaus Mohammad, Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan in world tennis map. His pioneer effort and presence have promised a tennis renaissance in the country. Budding players will get encouragement to follow Paes’ footstep.
As a player, Paes got accolades from all quarters. He received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, which is India’s highest sporting honour in 1996-97, the Arjuna award in 1990. Besides this, he had been conferred with the Padma Shri in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014 for his magnificent contribution to the Indian tennis. The whole nation would stand and cheer for this marvellous performance on the tennis court. It is not impossible but difficult for anyone to fill in Paes’s shoes.