Leander Adrian Paes ,born on 17 June 1973 is an acclaimed Indian professional tennis player . He is considered as one of the greatest tennis doubles player along with a record of more double wins in the Davis Cup.
Paes has won eight doubles and ten mixed doubles Grand Slam Titles.
His incredible performance in doubles and mixed doubles has made him a household name over the world.
Leander Paes Early Life:
Leander was born to Vece Paes, a Goan, and, Jennifer Paes, in Calcutta ,India. He was educated at La Martiniere Calcutta, Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School and completed college from St. Xavier’s College of the University of Calcutta. His parents were both athletes. His father,Vece ,was a midfielder in the bronze medal-winning Indian field hockey team at the 1972 Munich Olympics. His mother captained the Indian basketball team in the 1980 Asian basketball championship. Paes is blessed to have parents like these who have played a pivotal role in his achievements.
Leander has been described as having a strange playing style by Andre Agassi.] He varies his play as the match goes on; he is one of the best volleyers and a talented drop shotter. His volleying techniques were learnt from former Indian player Akhtar Ali. He hits a one-handed backhand, which he drives only seldom, preferring instead to slice when returning serve or rallying from his backhand.
Leander Paes Career:
Paes turned professional in 1991 when he first won titles at the Junior US Open and the Junior Wimbledon . He rose to number 1 in the world junior rankings.In 1992, he reached the quarter finals of the doubles event in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics with Ramesh Krishnan.
At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics he beat Fernando Meligeni to win the bronze medal, the first Indian to win an individual medal since KD Jadhav won bronze at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Paes has been awarded the highest sporting honor by the government of India, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 1996.
In 1993,he partnered with Sébastien Lareau to reach the US Open doubles semifinal. After a moderate season in 1994, he reached the quarter-finals of the 1995 Australian Open doubles with Kevin Ullyett. From 1996, he partnered with fellow-Indian Mahesh Bhupathi. Their first year was not successful, especially in the Grand Slams, reaching the round of 32 only at Wimbledon. Year 1997 proved to be a much better year for the team, reaching the US Open semifinals. Paes climbed the doubles ranking from no. 89 at the beginning of the year to no. 14 at year end.That year he made his best singles performance in a Grand Slam, losing in the third round of the 1997 US Open to Cédric Pioline after beating Carlos Costa and Arnaud Boetsch.
Rise in doubles
Paes/Bhupathi grew stronger in 1998, reaching the semifinals of three Grand Slams, the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Paes had two of his biggest singles results. The first one came by winning his only ATP singles title at Newport, and the second was beating Pete Sampras, 6–3, 6–4 at the New Haven ATP tournament at their only meeting.In 1999, the duo reached the finals of all four Grand Slams, winning Wimbledon and the French, thus becoming the first Indians to win a doubles event at a Grand Slam. Paes teamed up with Lisa Raymond to win the mixed doubles event at Wimbledon. The year marked his ascent to the no. 1 doubles ranking.
He was awarded the Padmashri by the government of India in 2001.
In 2009, he won the French Open and US Open Men’s doubles titles with Lukáš Dlouhý and was the runner-up in mixed at the US Open.
He still continues to play wonderfully with full zest and zeal and is a renowned name in the field of sports.
Awards and Honours
Paes received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honor, in 1996–97; the Arjuna Award in 1990; the Padma Shri award in 2001; and India’s third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan prize in January 2014, for his outstanding contribution to tennis in India. He also holds a record of beating both Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.
He is a former Davis Cup team captain, and holds the record for the most Davis Cup doubles wins with 43 victories .
He is the sports ambassador of the Indian state of Haryana.
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