Asian Games 2018: Illustrated history of 1994 Asiad gold medallist Leander Paes, an Indian tennis legend

Born to an Olympic bronze medal-winning hockey player, Vece Paes and the captain of the Indian women's team at the 1980 Asian Basketball Championships Jennifer Paes, you could say that Leander Paes was destined to take up a career in sports.

Leander took a liking to tennis and as a 10-year-old, spent hours practising on the courts at the Dalhousie Institute in Calcutta. Two years later, he enrolled into Indian tennis legend Vijay Amritraj's Britannia Amritraj Tennis (BAT) academy in Chennai where he flourished.

A rising tennis star, Leander won the Junior Wimbledon title in 1990 before winning the Junior US Open title in 1991. His wins propelled him to the No 1 ranking in junior tennis and he turned pro in 1991 at the age of 18.

In 1992, teaming up with Ramesh Krishnan he reached the quarter-finals in the men's doubles event at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Leander lifted his first pro singles title when he beat Richard Matuszewski at win the Guangzhou ATP Challenger title in December of the same year.

Leander went into the 1994 Asian Games with a point to prove.  The 21-year-old won bronze in the singles event before teaming up with Gaurav Natekar to win gold in doubles. He then won gold in the men's team event along with Natekar, Zeeshan Ali and Asif Ismail.

It is fair to say that Leander didn't stop after having tasted success at Hiroshima and the rest, as they say, is history.

Art courtesy: Rajan Gaikwad

Art courtesy: Rajan Gaikwad

This is the fourth part of Firstpost's series on India's heroes at the Asian Games.


Updated Date: Aug 27, 2018 22:29 PM

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