Leander Adrian Paes was born on 17th June 1973 in Calcutta, West Bengal, India. He is the son of Indian hockey legend Dr. Vece Paes and Jennifer Paes. Leander though wasn’t destined to be in the shadows of his father for very long and is widely regarded as the greatest tennis player which the country of India has ever produced and one of the greatest doubles players in the history of professional tennis. He had also gained notable success in the singles game, winning the bronze medal for India at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Leander enjoyed a fruitful career at the junior level before moving up through the ranks in the singles game where he had his greatest success at the Atlanta Olympics. But it was in the doubles format where Paes gained superstar status going on to win almost all the major tournaments in the game of tennis. His partnership with longtime friend and now rival Mahesh Bhupathi brought some of India’s finest sporting achievements. In 1999, the duo reached the finals of all the four Grand Slams, winning the French Open and the Wimbledon crown. The same year, he also won the mixed doubles event at Wimbledon with Lisa Raymond. The pair of Bhupathi and Paes also won the French Open crown in 2001 but due to constant bickerings, could not establish the partnership which many Indians had hoped for.
But Paes found great chemistry with other partners in both the men’s doubles and the mixed doubles, forming brilliant partnerships with the likes if Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Radek Stepanek, Cara Black and Lukas Dlouhy. All in all, he has won 18 Grand Slam titles; 8 in the men’s doubles format and 10 in the mixed doubles format. He has also enjoyed being the No.1 ranked doubles player in the world for long periods in his career. He has achieved the career slam in both men’s doubles and mixed doubles format. Back in his home country of India, he is highly revered as a national icon and has been awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Arjuna Award, Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.