Tennis Prose




May/21

29

How Will Leander Paes Retire?

On June 17, ATP great Leander Paes will turn 48 years old. The legendary Indian is still active in pro tennis but he’s having difficulty getting matches in the ATP because his doubles ranking has fallen outside the top 100 and apparently there isn’t a long line of players ranked high enough willing to team up with him.

Paes last match was in March in Davis Cup vs Croatia. Paes and Rohan Bopanna defeated Mate Pavic and Franko Skugor 63 67 75. Before that in Dubai in February, Paes played with Australian veteran Matt Ebden and they won a round vs Dodig/Polasek before falling to Kontinen/Struff.

Last year Paes announced 2020 would be his final year competing and his plan was to have a “One Last Roar” farewell tour but the pandemic thwarted those designs. Paes also hoped to play for India in the Olympics in Japan, which would have been his eighth Olympic Games dating back to 1992. He won a bronze medal in 1996 in singles in Barcelona (his only medal). Overall Paes has won eight Grand Slam doubles titles and ten more in mixed doubles. Paes holds a career Grand Slam in doubles and mixed, meaning he’s won each Grand Slam title in each category.

Paes is one of the most decorated champions in tennis history and such a career merits a grand finale retirement departure. The former world no. 1 in 1999 is now ranked 138 and so his aspirations to compete in Roland Garros doubles or mixed are at the mercy of another player agreeing to join forces with him.

If he can’t find partners for Roland Garros, Paes, who turned pro in 1991, may play his final professional event at the Tokyo Olympics this summer.

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