Editorial: Paes, pace & ace

Pride of Indian tennis Leander Paes announced that he would look to play a few select tournaments next year and travel with his team as he calls curtains on a career that started in 1991.

He has won 18 Grand Slam (men’s doubles and mixed doubles) titles and a bronze medal in the singles competition at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He also competed in consecutive Olympics from 1992 to 2016, becoming the first Indian and only tennis player to compete at seven Games.

He won junior Wimbledon in 1990, his Davis Cup debut at 16. His Davis Cup wins over much higher-ranked opponents like Henri Leconte (in France) and Goran Ivanisevic, Davis Cup record for most number of wins in doubles, his win over Pete Sampras in New Haven, his title win at the ATP Newport Open (the last time an Indian man won a singles title) are his big achievements.

The crowning glory for Paes was winning the bronze medal in singles at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He won India’s first individual medal in Olympics after 44 years, and the country has won at least one ever since.

Leander bettered his own Davis Cup record by winning his 44th doubles match along with debutant Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan as India thrashed Pakistan in Nur-Sultan and booked a spot in next year’s World Group Qualifiers. The Davis Cup is in March. Then there is the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Leander wants to represent the country in those two events and hope he give his all. He has inspired many children to take up tennis when cricket was the passion of the nation. His achievements speaks for himself.

NT Bureau