|Leander Paes Quick Info|
|Height||5 ft 10 in|
|Date of Birth||June 17, 1973|
Leander Paes is an Indian former professional tennis player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest doubles players of all time. A former world number one in the doubles format, he had amassed a 770–457 win-loss record (62.8%) in doubles and 55 ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) doubles titles in 98 final appearances. He had won 8 Grand Slam titles in the doubles format – the Australian Open (2012), the French Open (1999, 2001, 2009), Wimbledon (1999), and the US Open (2006, 2009, 2013); and 10 Grand Slam titles in the mixed doubles format – the Australian Open (2003, 2010, 2015), the French Open (2016), Wimbledon (1999, 2003, 2010, 2015), and the US Open (2008, 2015). He had also made it to the final match of the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals 4 times (1997, 1999, 2000, 2005) without ever winning it. For his services to the sport, the Government of India had honored him with the Arjuna Award (the 2nd-highest sporting honor of India) in 1990; the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award (the highest sporting honor of India) in 1996–97; the Padma Shri (India’s fourth-highest civilian award) in 2001; and the Padma Bhushan (India’s third-highest civilian award) in 2014.
Leander Adrian Paes
Lee, Indian Express
Kolkata, West Bengal, India
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Leander had attended La Martiniere Calcutta, an elite, independent private day school in Kolkata (then known as Calcutta); and had later studied at the M. C. C. Higher Secondary School in Chetpet, Chennai.
After his high school graduation, he had joined St. Xavier’s College, a private, Catholic, autonomous higher education institution in Kolkata.
Professional Tennis Player (Retired)
- Father – Vece Paes (Doctor in Sports Medicine, Former Field Hockey Player, Member of the Indian squad that had clinched the ‘Bronze’ Medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics as well as the 1971 Barcelona Hockey World Cup)
- Mother – Jennifer Paes (née Dutton) (Former Basketball Player, India’s Captain at the 1980 Asian Basketball Championship)
- Others – Michael Dutton (Maternal Grandfather), Ruby Myrtle Nyss (Maternal Grandmother), Garney Nyss (Maternal Great Uncle) (Sportsman), Michael Madhusudan Dutt (Maternal Great Great Grandfather) (Poet, Playwright) (d. 1873)
Right-Handed (One-Handed Backhand)
5 ft 10 in or 178 cm
78 kg or 172 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Leander has dated –
- Mahima Chaudhry (2000–2003)
- Rhea Pillai (2003-2014) – Leander had started dating model and actress Rhea Pillai in 2003. Mahima had later alleged that Leander had cheated on her to be with Rhea which had caused the demise of her relationship with Leander. By 2005, Rhea and Leander had started living together and they have a daughter named Aiyana Paes (b. 2006). The couple had parted ways in 2014 after Rhea had filed a case against Leander alleging harassment and domestic violence.
- Kim Sharma (2021-Present)
Race / Ethnicity
Multiracial (Asian and White)
He is primarily of Indian descent with part English and Scottish ancestry on his mother’s side.
- Toned physique
- Short-cropped, wavy hair
- Affable smile
- Clean-shaven look
Leander Paes Facts
- He had first come into the spotlight in 1990 when he had won the Wimbledon Junior title and had claimed the top spot in the junior world rankings. He had also claimed the junior title at the 1991 US Open and had reached the quarter-final of the doubles event at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, partnering with Ramesh Krishnan.
- Before he started his blitzkrieg of winning doubles and mixed doubles Grand Slam titles in 1999, he had captured India’s imagination with his dazzling performance in the singles format. In 1996, he had won the ‘Bronze’ medal at the Atlanta Olympics and had become the first Indian to win an individual Olympic medal since K. D. Jadhav had won a ‘Bronze’ medal in wrestling at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
- Leander has often stated that this ‘Bronze’ medal match was one of the greatest performances of his career, in part because he was battling a severely injured wrist. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, he was given the honor of carrying the Indian flag at the opening ceremony.
- He is the first Indian (and the only tennis player, as of March 2022) to have participated in 7 successive editions of the Summer Olympic Games (1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016).
- In July 1998, he had won his first ATP singles title, the Hall of Fame Tennis Championships. This reminded his only ATP singles title as well as his only singles ATP final appearance. His best performance in the singles event of a Grand Slam was reaching the 3rd round of the US Open in 1997.
- In 1999, Leander and fellow Indian tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi had reached the final of the doubles event of all the 4 Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, US Open). This was the first time that a pair had achieved this feat since 1952 and this was the first such instance in the Open Era. They had won the French Open and Wimbledon titles that year but had lost the final of the Australian Open and the US Open.
- This was just one of the early successes of the Leander-Mahesh partnership (affectionately known as ‘Lee-Hesh’) that became one of the most formidable doubles pairings in the history of the sport. They achieved a stupendous 303–103 career win-loss record as a duo which included a record-breaking 23 consecutive doubles wins in the Davis Cup. Their best performance at the Summer Olympic Games was in Athens in 2004 where they had finished 4th and had lost the ‘Bronze’ medal match to the Croatian pairing of Mario Ančić and Ivan Ljubičić in heartbreaking fashion with the scoreline reading 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 16-14 in the Croatians’ favor.
- The Indian duo had also won the ‘Gold’ medal at the 2002 Busan Asian Games, a feat they had repeated at the 2006 Doha Asian Games. At the latter event, Leander had also won the ‘Gold’ medal in the mixed doubles event, with Sania Mirza.
- In 2003, he had been admitted to the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, for a suspected brain tumor that was later diagnosed to be neurocysticercosis, a parasitic brain infection. He was forced to miss the US Open that year but had recovered completely by the end of the year.
- Leander was a member of the Washington Kastles‘ championship-winning teams in 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 in World Team Tennis, a mixed-gender professional tennis league that was founded in 1973. He was named the league’s ‘Male MVP’ in 2009 and 2011.
- In 2010, he had joined the Board of Directors of Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation that aims to bridge the gap between the best athletes in India and the best athletes in the world. It was co-founded by Indian sporting legends Geet Sethi (Billiards) and Prakash Padukone (Badminton).
- Leander is just the 2nd male tennis player, after the legendary Rod Laver, to have won the Wimbledon title in 3 separate decades (doubles in 1999 and mixed doubles in 1999, 2003, 2010, 2015).
- He had played the lead role of Keshav in the 2013 Hindi-language action thriller film Rajdhani Express.
- At the 2015 French Open, he had become just the 7th male player in the Open Era to complete 700 doubles wins. A great measure of the consistency and longevity of his career is the fact that he had won at least 1 ATP-level doubles title in 19 straight seasons (1997-2015).
- As of March 2022, he holds the record for the most doubles wins (45) in the Davis Cup. He was a key member of the Indian squads that had reached the tournament’s World Group consistently from 1991 to 1998. This run had also included a semi-final finish in 1993.
- He had announced his retirement from professional tennis in 2020 and had joined, in 2021, Trinamool Congress, an Indian political party that is predominantly active in the state of West Bengal. He has also served as the sports ambassador of the northern Indian state of Haryana.
Featured Image by Leander Paes / Instagram