Leander Paes

Leander Adrian Paes (born 17 June 1973) is an Indian professional tennis player. He is widely considered one of the greatest doubles players in the history of the sport. He holds the record for the most doubles wins in the Davis Cup.

Paes has won eight doubles and ten mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. He holds a career Grand Slam in men’s doubles and mixed doubles, and achieved the rare men’s doubles/mixed doubles double at the 1999 Wimbledon tournament. His mixed doubles Wimbledon title in 2010 made him the second man (after Rod Laver) to win Wimbledon titles in three decades.

Paes received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honor, in 1996–97; the Arjuna Award in 1990; the Padma Shri award in 2001; and India’s third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan prize in January 2014, for his outstanding contribution to tennis in India.

He won a bronze medal for India in singles in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He competed in consecutive Olympics from 1992 to 2016, making him the first Indian and only tennis player to compete at seven Olympic Games.

He is a former Davis Cup team captain, and holds the record for the most Davis Cup doubles wins with 43 victories (surpassing Nicola Pietrangeli‘s 42).

He plays in World Team Tennis for the Washington Kastles. He was on the 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 championship teams and was named Male MVP for 2009 and 2011 for all of World Team Tennis.

He is the sports ambassador of the Indian state of Haryana. Paes has announced that he will retire in 2020, which will be his farewell season on the Pro-circuit.”I want to announce 2020 as my farewell year as a pro tennis player,” Paes wrote in a statement, which he posted on his Twitter handle.

 

Early life

LEANDER was born in Calcutta, India, on 17 June 1973 to Vece Paes, a Goan, and, Jennifer Paes, from Calcutta. He was educated at La Martiniere Calcutta, Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School  and the St. Xavier’s College of the University of Calcutta. His parents were both athletes. Vece was a midfield squad member in the bronze medal-winning Indian field hockey team at the 1972 Munich Olympics although he did not personally receive a medal as he did not take to the field in any of India’s matches. His mother captained the Indian basketball team in the 1980 Asian basketball championship.

Paes is a direct descendant of Bengali poet Michael Madhusudan Dutta through his mother. Paes had a live-in-relationship with Rhea Pillai in 2005. The couple have a daughter, Aiyana. She filed a case at a local metropolitan court against Paes in 2014, alleging that he had her belongings removed from a wing of his home so his visiting parents could stay there.

Paes enrolled with the Britannia Amritraj Tennis Academy in Madras (Chennai) in 1985, where he was coached by Dave O’Meara.] The academy played a key role in his early development. Leander earned international fame when he won the 1990 Wimbledon Junior title and rose to no. 1 in the junior world rankings at age 17.

In 2010, he joined the Board of Directors of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation co-founded by Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone to support talented Indian athletes.

Significant finals

Grand Slam finals

Doubles: 16 (8 titles, 8 runner-ups)

By winning the 2012 Australian Open title, Paes achieved the career Grand Slam.

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1999 Australian Open Hard  Mahesh Bhupathi  Jonas Björkman
 Patrick Rafter
3–6, 6–4, 4–6, 7–6(12–10), 4–6
Winner 1999 French Open Clay  Mahesh Bhupathi  Goran Ivanišević
 Jeff Tarango
6–2, 7–5
Winner 1999 Wimbledon Grass  Mahesh Bhupathi  Paul Haarhuis
 Jared Palmer
6–7(10–12), 6–3, 6–4, 7–6(7–4)
Runner-up 1999 US Open Hard  Mahesh Bhupathi  Sébastien Lareau
 Alex O’Brien
6–7, 4–6
Winner 2001 French Open (2) Clay  Mahesh Bhupathi  Petr Pála
 Pavel Vízner
7–6, 6–3
Runner-up 2004 US Open Hard  David Rikl  Mark Knowles
 Daniel Nestor
3–6, 3–6
Runner-up 2006 Australian Open Hard  Martin Damm  Bob Bryan
 Mike Bryan
6–4, 3–6, 4–6
Winner 2006 US Open Hard  Martin Damm  Jonas Björkman
 Max Mirnyi
6–7(5–7), 6–4, 6–3
Runner-up 2008 US Open Hard  Lukáš Dlouhý  Bob Bryan
 Mike Bryan
6–7(5–7), 6–7(10–12)
Winner 2009 French Open (3) Clay  Lukáš Dlouhý  Wesley Moodie
 Dick Norman
3–6, 6–3, 6–2
Winner 2009 US Open (2) Hard  Lukáš Dlouhý  Mahesh Bhupathi
 Mark Knowles
3–6, 6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 2010 French Open Clay  Lukáš Dlouhý  Nenad Zimonjić
 Daniel Nestor
5–7, 2–6
Runner-up 2011 Australian Open Hard  Mahesh Bhupathi  Bob Bryan
 Mike Bryan
3–6, 4–6
Winner 2012 Australian Open Hard  Radek Štěpánek  Bob Bryan
 Mike Bryan
7–6(7–1), 6–2
Runner-up 2012 US Open Hard  Radek Štěpánek  Bob Bryan
 Mike Bryan
3–6, 4–6
Winner 2013 US Open (3) Hard  Radek Štěpánek  Alexander Peya
 Bruno Soares
6–1, 6–3

Mixed doubles: 18 (10 titles, 8 runner-ups)[edit]

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Winner 1999 Wimbledon Grass  Lisa Raymond  Anna Kournikova
 Jonas Björkman
6–4, 3–6, 6–3
Runner-up 2001 US Open Hard  Lisa Raymond  Rennae Stubbs
 Todd Woodbridge
6–4, 5–7, [11–9]
Winner 2003 Australian Open Hard  Martina Navratilova  Eleni Daniilidou
 Todd Woodbridge
6–4, 7–5
Winner 2003 Wimbledon (2) Grass  Martina Navratilova  Anastassia Rodionova
 Andy Ram
6–3, 6–3
Runner-up 2004 Australian Open Hard  Martina Navratilova  Elena Bovina
 Nenad Zimonjić
6–1, 7–6
Runner-up 2005 French Open Clay  Martina Navratilova  Daniela Hantuchová
 Fabrice Santoro
3–6, 6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 2007 US Open Hard  Meghann Shaughnessy  Victoria Azarenka
 Max Mirnyi
6–4, 7–6(8–6)
Winner 2008 US Open Hard  Cara Black  Liezel Huber
 Jamie Murray
7–6, 6–4
Runner-up 2009 Wimbledon Grass  Cara Black  Anna-Lena Grönefeld
 Mark Knowles
7–5, 6–3
Runner-up 2009 US Open Hard  Cara Black  Carly Gullickson
 Travis Parrot
6–2, 6–4
Winner 2010 Australian Open (2) Hard  Cara Black  Ekaterina Makarova
 Jaroslav Levinský
7–5, 6–3
Winner 2010 Wimbledon (3) Grass  Cara Black  Lisa Raymond
 Wesley Moodie
6–4, 7–6
Runner-up 2012 Australian Open Hard  Elena Vesnina  Bethanie Mattek-Sands
 Horia Tecău
3–6, 7–5, [3–10]
Runner-up 2012 Wimbledon Grass  Elena Vesnina  Lisa Raymond
 Mike Bryan
3–6, 7–5, 4–6
Winner 2015 Australian Open (3) Hard  Martina Hingis  Kristina Mladenovic
 Daniel Nestor
6–4, 6–3
Winner 2015 Wimbledon (4) Grass  Martina Hingis  Tímea Babos
 Alexander Peya
6–1, 6–1
Winner 2015 US Open (2) Hard  Martina Hingis  Bethanie Mattek-Sands
 Sam Querrey
6–4, 3–6, [10–7]
Winner 2016 French Open Clay  Martina Hingis  Sania Mirza
 Ivan Dodig
4–6, 6–4, [10–8]

Olympic medal matches

Singles: 1 (1 bronze medal)

Bronze medal final

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Bronze 1996  Atlanta Hard  Fernando Meligeni 3–6, 6–2, 6–4

Doubles: 1

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
4th place 2004 Athens Hard  Mahesh Bhupathi  Mario Ančić
 Ivan Ljubičić
6–7(5–7), 6–4, 14–16

 

Playing style

Leander has been described as having a strange playing style by Andre Agassi. He varies his play as the match goes on; he is one of the best volleyers and a talented drop shotter. His volleying techniques were learnt from former Indian player Akhtar Ali.[66] He hits a one-handed backhand, which he drives only seldom, preferring instead to slice when returning serve or rallying from his backhand.

Acting career

Leander made his film debut in Ashok Kohli’s Rajdhani Express, a socio-political thriller.