From conquering it all on court to joining politics, look at Leander Paes' journey

Image Source: ANI

New Delhi [India], October 29 (ANI): The stature of Leander Paes in India’s sporting history is unparallel and absolutely unrivalled to this day. The 48-year-old who still holds the crown of the most successful tennis player in the country has enjoyed unprecedented success on the court and he will be hoping for the same in his political journey as he joins Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Goa on Friday.

Paes is known to be one of the most stylish sports stars that India has ever produced. Hailed as a child prodigy, he debuted on the pro-circuit in 1991. Before that, in 1990, he won both the junior US Open and Wimbledon titles. He also grabbed the top spot in junior rankings for his superlative performances in the same year.

The former world number one’s — in doubles — biggest achievement undoubtedly was the Olympic bronze medal he bagged in the men’s singles event at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He was 22 when he ended India’s 44-year-old wait for an individual Olympic medal and to this day he remains the only Indian tennis player to win an Olympic medal for India.

Paes competed in seven consecutive Olympics from 1992 to 2016. He is the first Indian and the first tennis player to compete at the seven Olympics. Out of his seven appearances at the Games, he was in medal contention on two occasions. In 1996, when he emerged victorious in the third-place match, and in 2004 Athens Olympics when he and Mahesh Bhupati finished fourth in men’s doubles after losing to Mario Ancic and Ivan Ljubicic.

Kolkata-born also holds the Indian record of having won the most Grand Slam titles with 18 titles to his name, eight in men’s doubles and 10 in mixed doubles. He has also won the career Grand Slam, title wins at all four tennis majors – Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open, in both the men’s doubles and mixed doubles events.

Despite all this success, Paes greatest wins have come in the Davis Cup where he is known to raise his game several notches while representing the country. Paes’ 45 victories in doubles is an all-time Davis Cup record which is a testament to his longevity and service towards the country in the sport.

Paes is a legend who will always be remembered for popularising tennis in India and for his contribution to the sports, he received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honour, 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. (ANI)


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