Leander Paes turns 40, today but watching the tennis ace on court makes viewers doubt he has been around for so long. The agility and ability Paes displays has seen him win seven doubles and six mixed doubles Grand Slam titles in his career so far.
Besides the wins, the Indian tennis star has finished ad runner up in numerous other Grand Slam finals. In 2012, Paes completed the career grand slam in men's doubles after winning the Australian Open.
Leander Paes shocked the tennis world by winning a bronze medal for India in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. To add to his laurels, the tennis star also achieved the rare men's doubles and mixed doubles double title wins at Wimbledon in 1999.
For 20 years consecutively, Paes has made Olympic appearances from 1992 to 2012 which in itself is a record for India. The feat is a testimony to the fitness and commitment Leander Paes has put in his game to play tennis at its highest level with 100% dedication from his side.
After winning the mixed doubles Wimbledon title in 2010, the Indian tennis star became only the second man to win Wimbledon titles in three different decades after singles legend Rod Laver who held all four Grand Slams simultaneously.
As a junior player Leander Paes won the Junior US Open and Wimbledon going on to be ranked No1 during that time. He turned professional in 1991 and since then the records have kept tumbling though he was not able to make it big in the singles game, the Goan-born lad is a respected doubles player and has ranked No1 in mixed and men's doubles.
Leander Paes is the recipient of India's highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award which he won in 1996–1997, the Arjuna Award in 1990 and the Padma Shri award in 2001 for his outstanding contribution to tennis in India.
Partnership with Mahesh Bhupathi
The Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi partnership was a match made in tennis heaven as the duo complimented each others game well. In 1999, the Indian pair reached all four Grand Slams final and went on to win Wimbledon and the French Open to become the first Indian pair to win a doubles event at a Grand Slam.
Some misunderstanding lead to the partnership breaking up in a media-frenzied, publicised bust up. Paes and Bhupathi continued to play Davis Cup and Olympic matches together putting their personal differences aside for the sake of the nation.
The pair briefly started playing together in 2011 but split again.
Leander Paes also tried his hand at a Bollywood film, socio-political thriller Rajdhani Express in 2012 for which he received a lot of flak.
With a week to go tbefore Wimbledon commences, Paes is gearing up to play at the All-England club and will be looking for more Grand Slam glory in the doubles and mixed-doubles competition.