Paes won the bronze medal at 1994 Atlanta Games and with this 44-year wait for an individual Olympic Medal came to an end with a day when he made, Indians head held high in sports. He turns 47 today and has witnessed a fantastic journey throughout his career and is one of the most celebrated achievers of Indian tennis. He competed in consecutive Olympics from 1992 to 2016, making him the first Indian and only tennis player to compete at seven Olympic Games.
“For 1.4 billion people, when you go out there to play the Olympics, it’s a different feeling altogether,” Paes said to the Olympic Channel as he remembered his Atlanta journey.
The veteran tennis star won 18 grand slam doubles titles, 10 of which he won in mixed doubles, in his career. He is also the most successful doubles player in the history of Davis Cup with 44 wins. He teamed up with Mahesh Bhupathi Paes and formed a formidable partnership with both becoming the No. 1-ranked doubles player and winning three Grand Slams together. The duo of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi was nicknamed the ″Indian Express”. Later on, with Rohan Bopanna, Martina Hingis and Martina Navratilova too.
“God, Mahesh had a killer backhand as an ad court player. It was world class but if I had to choose between two, I would definitely go for Rohan’s serve. His serve is one of the best I have seen on tour and it’s a weapon,” Paes added.
Recently, he has clarified he will not wait another four years to make a record eighth Olympics appearance if the Tokyo Games next year do not take place.