In a country where only one sport rules the mind of its population. You really have to do something extraordinary to get noticed, to be able to share the same pedestal on which they let their cricketing heroes sit. And if Leander Paes’ achievements don’t suffice that, I don’t know what will.
2015 was an eventful year in terms of Tennis. Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic took their head to head Grand Slam record to 21-21.
Serena Williams came close to winning the Calendar Grand Slam, Flavia Pennetta won her first Grand Slam only to announce her retirement after that.
But for Indians, it has to be the winning combination of Leander Paes and Swiss player Martina Hingis who won 3 GS mixed double titles in a calendar year.
Yash Chopra would be smiling from heaven (Sorry to whoever I stole it from).
What needs to be noted is that Leander Paes  gave this performance at the age of 42 and in the midst of a courtship battle for his daughter. This is the stuff superhumans are made of.
Leander Paes: The Man, The Times
Leander-Paes-Atlanta-OlympicsBorn to sportsperson parents, he rose to fame when he won the 1990 Wimbledon Junior title and the Junior US Open title at the age of 17.
But the 1996 Atlanta Olympic was where he made his presence felt when he won the bronze medal playing with a severely injured wrist.
There is something about India and their love for the Olympic medal winners. We subconsciously respect them more.
He was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in the same year. Yes, that is India’s highest honor for achievement in Sports and, the surprise is named after a politician. #JustIndianThings
The year 1997 marked the rise of the renowned and controversial doubles players Bhupathi and Paes when they reached the semifinals of the US Open.
In 1999 when the world was getting ready to step into the 21st century, Bhupathi and Paes created history winning the doubles event at Wimbledon and the French Open.
A mixed doubles win as well at the Wimbledon took Paes’ doubles ranking to a career-best No 1.
Recently International Tennis Federation named both of them as its men’s doubles World Champions. For a pair with a career record of 303-103, this is only expected.
It would be criminal not to mention the 2003 Australian Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles win with Martina Navrátilová. Weeks after which he was admitted to a hospital for a suspected brain tumor which later turned out to be a brain infection.
On-off Partnership with Bhupathi
The on-off partnership with Mahesh Bhupathi. The affair with Mahima Chaudhary. And the live-in relationship with Rhea Pillai has sometimes kept Paes in news more than his career.
But that doesn’t undermine his accomplishments on the Tennis Court and all that he has done for the country. He had played the Davis Cup with Rohan Bopanna. And has often been touted the best Davis Cup player for the country with a win-loss record of 89-32.
Before the Rio Olympics, in an interview, he said he is ready for the 2016 Rio Olympics. His presence at the major sporting event has added another feather to his cap.
As he must have planned to break his own record of being the first Indian. And only a Tennis player to compete at six Olympic Games, making Rio the seventh consecutive.
Novak Djokovic recently bombed one of Paes’ interview to tell him how much Paes inspires the former. And who wouldn’t agree with Djokovic, YOU INSPIRE US ALWAYS PAES!