Peas going strong
Forty and raring to go; that symbolises the ageless Indian wonder, Leander Paes. The legend keeps growing to unbelievable heights in a sport in which...
Forty and raring to go; that symbolises the ageless Indian wonder, Leander Paes. The legend keeps growing to unbelievable heights in a sport in which India is yet to produce a Grand Slam singles champion. By any yardstick, Paes is among the country’s best known ambassadors not only for his exploits on the circuit but also for his determination in Davis Cup matches.
By winning his eighth Grand Slam men's doubles title on Sunday while teaming up with Radek Stepanek of Czech Republic (their second major together), the Indian warhorse has proven himself. What was more significant was the manner in which they demolished the dreaded Bryan twins in the semifinals while effectively denying them the opportunity to achieve a calendar Grand Slam. It was the third US Open title for Paes, who played his 30th Grand Slam final. His earlier successes came in the company of Martin Damm (2006) and Lukas Dlouhy (2009).
So where do we place Paes when taken in the Indian context? Today, many will describe him as the finest of Indian players ever. The accomplishments of touché artistes Krishnans and Amritrajs have been good but they pale in comparison because they did not achieve any significant title successes. In addition to an amazing 14 Grand Slam doubles titles in a hugely productive two-decade career, Paes also has an Olympic singles bronze (Atlanta 1996) in his kitty. His track record in Davis Cup is the stuff of legends. He has already represented India in six Olympics, which is something unbelievably amazing for a sportsman of any era.