great fighter

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Apr 2018 11:29:25

LEANDER Paes will go down in Indian lawn tennis history as the greatest fighter and one of the greatest players India has produced. Paes is known for his fighting spirit, especially when playing for the country under the Tricolour. His 43rd win will remain a memorable achievement in the history of the marquee Davis Cup for years to come. The All India Lawn Tennis Association (AILTA) needs to be congratulated for prevailing upon the reluctant selection committee to include Leander Paes in the squad that was scheduled to play the Chinese in the Asia/Oceania Group-1 tie and Leander did not disappoint them either. The selection committee initially had shown the meanness of excluding Paes from the Davis Cup squad. But since Leander was on the verge of making world history of registering 43rd Davis Cup win the AILTA put its foot down and ensured that he remained a key component of the Indian squad.

As usual, Leander pulled the team back from near relegation, as he has been doing all these years, as the Indian team had lost both the opening singles and the come-back heavily hinged on the doubles tie. And the magician in Leander did the trick in company with Rohan Bopanna. The duo humbled the fighting Chinese to keep the rubber alive and opened the door for India to make a come-back. The fighting spirit of the 44-year-old Paes seemed to have rubbed on the singles players who then ensured that they remained on the winning track. But then such come-from-behind episodes in Davis Cup ties are not new to the spirited veteran Paes. He has been the hero of many similar great stories. Ever since the advent of Leander Paes on the nation’s tennis horizon, these miracles have remained commonplace. Unfortunately, the current young breed of players are reluctant to acknowledge the greatness of the man who has been an unmissable part of international tennis for the last 28 years. To remain in the reckoning for 28 long years is itself phenomenal for any sportsperson. While most who had entered the field along with Leander have quit the game long back, there is no sign of jadedness in the remarkably fit veteran.

During his long journey on the international circuit initially he and Mahesh Bhupathi had carved a niche for themselves as the top doubles pair in international tennis. But unfortunately they parted company. But then there were many players of international repute who were happy to be associated with Leander Paes, including the legendary Martina Navratilova with a high success rate. Even though he remained busy all the year round taking part in various international events, he was always willing to spare time playing for the country as he felt immensely proud to play under the national flag.