Leander Paes wins Sportstar Aces 2020 Special Recognition Award

Leander Paes was presented with the Special Recognition Award at the Sportstar Aces Awards in Mumbai on Monday.

Leander Paes is one of the most successful doubles players in the history of tennis, having won 18 Grand Slam titles. A recipient of the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna and the Arjuna Award, Paes won eight Grand Slams in doubles and 10 in mixed doubles.

As a youngster, Leander Paes dreamed of being featured on the cover of the Sportstar magazine. Back in those days, when Internet and social media were unheard of terms, Paes would collect the posters from the magazine and read about his idols to draw inspiration.

Over the years, Paes has himself been an inspiration to many.

The indomitable tennis icon is one of the most successful doubles players in the history of the sport, with 18 Grand Slam titles.

And as he received the Special Recognition Award for his contribution to Indian tennis, Paes was emotional. “As a young boy growing up in Madras in 1986, the most coveted thing we wanted was to get on the Sportstar cover. I finally made it to the cover in 1991 after the junior Wimbledon. To be here, 30 years later, and collect the award is amazing,” Paes said.

The 46-year-old, who will retire at the end of the year, plans to leave the court on a high. “One last draw is going to be a culmination of 30 years coming together, playing in a few selected events that I have chosen to play. It will allow me to interact with my fans, really thank them in person for supporting me and guiding me,” he said.

In his long and illustrious career, Paes has gone through the highs and the lows. But he has comeback stronger every time. “There have been many a times where I have either wanted to quit or wanted to retire early. I had doubt on myself. But the Indian fans around the world believed in me and I believe, every trophy that I have in my showcase belongs to every Indian out there…”

The fans have always been there with the tennis ace and ahead of his swansong, Paes wants to thank all of them for backing him over the last three decades!

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar, chess ace Vishwanathan Anand, The Hindu Publishing Group Chairman N. Ram, former India hockey captain M. M. Somaya, Olympian shooter Anjali Bhagwat and Olympian shuttler Aparna Popat selected the deserving winners in categories involving young athletes, teams, coaches and parathletes.

The awards look to create a medium of knowledge and vision exchange as it brings all stakeholders of Indian sports under one roof.

You can watch the Sportstar Aces Awards on Sony Ten 1 SD & HD on Sunday 26 January at 8 PM (IST).

1st Repeat : Monday 27 January at 6 PM, 2nd Repeat : Tuesday 28th January  at 7 PM

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