Leander Paes made a professional debut at the age of 16 in 1990, representing his country with Zeeshan Ali in that epic victory over Japan in the Davis Cup. Three decades later, the 46-year-old Calcutta native is one of the most decorated doubles players in history, lifting 54 ATP titles from 97 finals and celebrating almost 800 victories on the Tour.
The famous Indian conquered all four Major titles in both doubles and the mixed doubles, adding 18 Major crowns to his tally and the Olympic singles medal from Atlanta 1996. The Davis Cup record-holder with 43 doubles rubbers wins, Leander has always been one of the fearsome competitors under the national flag, defending the colors of India in seven consecutive Olympic tournaments and hoping to make one last push in Tokyo this summer.
The veteran is ready to play a couple of more events in 2020 before saying his final farewell, embracing "One Last Roar" and competing in front of the home crowd in Pune last week where he reached the quarter-final.
Speaking for Times of India, Leander praised Roger Federer as the greatest player of all time, recalling their match from Indian Wells 2000 and remembering how much he was impressed with the backhand of the young Swiss. "I beat him at the Indian Wells qualifying in 2000.
Federer was an upcoming player who rifled a backhand against me with a straight arm, straight up the line that went like a laser beam. I had never seen anyone do that, not even Andre Agassi. For me, Federer is the greatest player of all time.
Rold Laver claimed a Grand Slam as both amateur and pro but for me, it is incredible what Roger has achieved in his career, delivering phenomenal tennis on every surface. Still, I think Nadal will overcome his Grand Slam tally. "