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Leander Paes

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Leander Adrian Paes better known as Leander Paes. 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, and the St. Xavier's College of the University of Calcutta. His parents were both sports persons. Vece was a midfielder in the bronze medal-winning Indian field hockey team at the 1972 Munich Olympics. His mother captained the Indian basketball team in the 1980 Asian basketball championship. 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.

 

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Career

He turned professional in 1991 and the very next year he along with Ramesh Krishnan reached the quarter finals of the doubles event in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He did India proud at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics by winning the bronze medal which he clinched after beating Fernando Meligeni. It was India’s first individual medal in more than 40 years. The year 1996 was an eventful year for him as this was the year he first partnered with another Indian player Mahesh Bhupathi. The Paes-Bhupathi partnership would prove to be a very successful one. In 1998 the Paes-Bhupathi team reached the semifinals of three Grand Slams—the Australian Open, the French Open, and the US Open. The very same year he won two singles in the ATP tour.

Paes and Bhupathi won both the French Open and the Wimbledon in 1999 and became the first Indian pair to win a doubles event at the Grand Slam. Paes became the No.1 player in doubles ranking. The duo won the gold medal at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan. The same year Paes also partnered with Michael Hill for several tournaments achieving moderate success. He participated in the mixed doubles events at the Australian Open and Wimbledon with Martina Navratilova in 2003 and won both of them. After three years he won the US Open doubles event in 2006 with Martin Damm. The year 2006 was a successful one for him. He played the men’s doubles with Bhupathi and won the gold at the Doha Asian Games. He also won the gold in the mixed doubles event with Sania Mirza.

Playing with Cara Black, he won the 2008 US Open mixed doubles title. The next year he won the US Open men’s doubles with Lukas Dlouhy. Again partnering with Cara Black, he won the Australian Open mixed doubles title in 2010 in what would be the pair’s third consecutive Grand Slam. He joined the Olympic Gold Quest as a member on the Board of Directors in 2010. The Quest is a program of the Foundation of Sports and Games, which aims to support talented Indian athletes who have the potential to win Olympic gold medals. In 2013, he again won the US Open men’s doubles with Radek Stepanek, marking his third US Open men’s doubles title. Their opponents in the finals were Alexander Peya and Bruno Soares. In January 2015, Paes won the Australian Open Mixed Doubles trophy along with Martina Hingis.

 

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Personal life

Paes is a direct descendant of the great 19th century Bengali poet Michael Madhusudan Dutta through his mother. Paes had a live-in-relationship with Rhea Pillai in 2005. The couple has a daughter, Aiyana. She has 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.

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 athletes from India in winning Olympic medals.

 

Awards

2016:- CNN IBN Indian of the Year

2014:- Padma Bhushan

2013:- CNN IBN Indian of the Year

2001:- Padma Shri

1996:- Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna

1990:- Arjuna

 

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