Leander Paes: Off the court

A list of Leander's favourites.

Leander's favourite movie is Sholay -- he has watched it 105 times.   -  R. Ragu

Two of Leander's favourite actors, Aamir Khan and Amitabh Bachchan.   -  PTI

Favourite car/automobile: I love to drive, but I am looking at my commercial obligations and contracts at the back of my head before I decide what to say…

I love driving — even in India where the traffic is heavy and maddening.

Tips on driving: Be safe on the roads. With traffic increasing the world over, driving is far more unsafe than flying! So, drive safely.

Favourite routes: 1. Great Eastern Highway — a freeway in Melbourne, Australia. It’s a beautiful road along the coast; 2. The A1A (Florida State Road) — again a beautiful road along the coast; 3. The Californian Coast and 4. The Pacific Coast — it’s very picturesque!

Favourite memories from childhood: I am very close to both my sisters, Jacqueline and Maria — both very good athletes in their own right. Jacqueline used to play basketball and a bit of tennis — she used to beat me at tennis! Maria was a good athlete — 100m and 200m runner. Both of them have always been there for me through thick and thin, just as I was for them. I missed a lot of my growing years with them because I went to the tennis academy (BAT) and they went to boarding school. We have always been close, in touch with each other. I am very blessed to have two great sisters who have always been there for me.

How do you unwind: Music and play other sport. I listen to a lot of classical and instrumental — both Western and Indian.

Favourite musicians: So many. You look at my music list in my phone, in my laptop (he logs into his laptop and takes us right through the list, Andrea Bocelli, Adele, Elvis…). When I am on the move, I listen to music from my phone/laptop. At home, I listen to vinyl. Good sound is very important.

Beatles and Journey are also my favourites (He narrates instructively how Journey, the American rock band, got its Filipino lead singer Arnel Campaner Pineda to replace Steve Augeri). I love Phil Collins and his drum-work, which is amazing.

Favourite movie: Sholay — I watched it 105 times.

Favourite actors: (Amitabh) Bachchan sir, Aamir Khan. I also like theatre actors… Anupam Kher, he’s brilliant. And then (Rajnikanth) Rajni sir. From the West, I like Sean Connery. Daniel Craig — to me he is the best of the Bonds, a perfect fit. I also like Leonardo Dicaprio, a versatile actor.

Holiday destination: I like the beaches. You’ll always find me in places that have tropical weather.

Hobbies: Scuba diving. I am fascinated by the ocean life. The great white sharks, tiger sharks…

Favourite books: I love autobiographies and biographies. I am not a big fan of fiction. The autobiography of Nelson Mandela ( Long Walk to Freedom) and Mother Teresa’s biography were good. I also loved Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts, Michael Jordan Biography and Bill Clinton’s autobiography ( My Life).

Favourite gadget: I am not very tech savvy. Electronics are supposed to make life easy, but sometimes they make it tough. I like conversation; I like to hear the voice directly.

(As appeared in sportstar.thehindu.com on February 18, 2016)