- 1Leander Paes won the bronze medal in 1996 Atlanta Olympics
- 2Leander is the only athlete to participate in seven Olympics
- 3Paes has won 18 Grand Slam titles, including career slam in mixed doubles
Proficiency, consistency and longevity beyond belief,
When he’s on the tennis court, the nation heaves a sigh of relief.
He’s a legend in every right, each and everyone says,
He’s the one and only, India’s very own Leander Paes.
Chants such as these are common from fans when Leander Paes turns up for his country on the tennis court.
The only man in history to play seven Olympics, Leander Paes is considered as one of the greatest doubles players of all time and will be playing the men’s doubles at the Rio Olympics. Leander’s list of achievements is unmatched.
He has won 18 Grand Slam titles, a career Grand Slam in mixed doubles, a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics and 55 career ATP titles. He has also been conferred with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting honour.
When Leander won the 2016 French Open to complete a career slam in Mixed Doubles, he also became the oldest man to have won a Grand Slam title. But at 43, he continues to be a force to reckon with.
Ahead of the Rio Games, there was a lot of speculation regarding his participation. However, the All-India Tennis Association (AITA) selected Paes as Rohan Bopanna’s partner in men’s doubles. Bopanna accepted and a controversy similar to the one ahead of the London Olympics in 2012 was averted.
But the big question now is whether Paes will manage to change the colour of his Olympic medal with a partner who didn’t want to play with him in the first place. Or will Team India overcome its internal differences for the sake of the nation?