While most tennis enthusiasts may be cheering for the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray or Roger Federer, there’s another tennis hero worth watching as he makes a record of being the first player in the game to represent his country in seven consecutive Olympic Games. At 42, India’s tennis ace Leander Paes will be that man.
The seventh-time entry is not only a record for the veteran tennis star, but also for India, to have an athlete compete that many times for Olympic gold.
At the French Open this year, Paes became the oldest man to have won a Grand Slam title when he and Swiss partner Martina Hingis secured the mixed-doubles crown. Incidentally, this was Paes’ 18th Grand Slam victory. At present Paes is considered to be one of the world’s top doubles and mixed-doubles players of all time.
Paes will be partnering with Rohan Bopanna, currently ranked World No. 10, to go for the doubles gold at Rio. Even though Bopanna had initially expressed hesitation about the partnership saying their playing styles were ‘not complementary’, the two men are now all set to play as a team for their country.
Ambition and sportsmanship are traits Leander Paes has inherited from his parents; his father was in the Indian hockey team and his mother is a former basketball team captain. From the 1992 to 2012 Olympic Games, Paes has made attempts to win glory for India, winning the bronze at Atlanta in ’96. Age is no bar for the resilient champion, and he’s more than ready to hold aloft the Indian flag at Rio 2016.