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The Leander Paes File

October 2009
The Leander Paes File


1 Olympic medals (bronze, 1996)
10 Grand Slam doubles titles
19 Grand Slam final appearances
36 His age. (He was born June 17, 1973, in Calcutta.)
41 Career doubles titles
73 Highest world singles ranking
$5.2 million His career earnings


“I play every single sport. You name it and I play it because I grew up in a family full of Olympians.” (Tennis Week)

“Tennis for me has been 23 years of passion. I think to achieve anything in life, passion is of the essence.” (DNA)

“Not a single academy in India has produced a champion. Everyone likes to say we have produced so and so player. Sorry, their families have produced them!” (DNA)


Paes, of Goan heritage, began playing tennis when he was just 5, the son of two Olympians. His father, Vece, was a midfielder on the Indian hockey team that won a bronze medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics, while his mother, Jennifer, played on the Indian basketball team.

He trained at Britannia Tennis Academy in Madras and won the 1990 Wimbledon junior title. But despite that early success and his bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics, it was doubles that brought him glory.

He won three Grand Slam men’s doubles titles with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi, but even after the pair had a falling out, he managed to win three more, most recently at this year’s U.S. Open with partner Luká? Dlouhý of the Czech Republic. He has also won four Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, including two with close friend Martina Navratilova.

He is married to Rhea Pillai, the former wife of Sanjay Dutt. They have a daughter, Aiyana.


His favorite meal is rice, rasam and Chettinad chicken.

His first car was a 2000 BMW 528i with special wheels and a sunroof.

He met his wife at an Art of Living course. She was his teacher.

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