Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Leander Paes

'Leander plays above his ability'

The above is an article over Leander Paes and how he has fought off his various ailments to become the greatest indian tennis player (with due respect to the likes of vijay amritraj). For me, Leander has been a player with ordinary abilities who has performed extra-ordinarily when playing for the country. His best performances have come while he has been representing his country with his greatest feat being the bronze medal at the Olympics. He is one player who really lifts his game by a few levels, when he is being supported by the crowd. He has won some of the most amazing Davis Cup matches, with the best being his comeback from match point against tennis superstar Goran Ivanisevic in hot Delhi to give India a 3-2 win over Croatia. For past several years he has been the one man army for India in the Davis Cup. For India to win the Davis Cup he almost always has to win his 3 matches (both singles and the doubles). Today, he has grown old but still he is performing really well. He along with Mahesh Bhupati has been almost invincible in Davis Cup doubles ties. Very recently in a Davis Cup tie against Pakistan he again was fighting for India as tie against arch-rivals Pakistan was levelled at 2-2. Paes, despite of his ageing body fended off his younger counterpart in 5 sets to lead India to another 3-2 Davis Cup win.

He has also won several doubles and mixed-doubles Grand Slam titles but to me his best performances have been when he is being supported by the crowd. This guy has an amazing will-power and self-belief. I think one can learn a lot from him, especially how to raise the level of your game when you are performing at the big stage. With this i end my short post which was just a small tribute to this great Indian warrior.

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