In Greek mythology Leander was a youth in love with Hero – priestess of Aphrodite. He drowned while trying to swim the Hellespont (strait between the Aegean and the Sea of Marmara that separates European Turkey from Asian Turkey) to meet her.
April 9, 2006 – Leander is the hero. Nothing new, he has always been ever since the 1990 Wimbledon Boys title. Beating heat, humidity and cramps, the ace that is Paes won the decider against Pakistan in the Asia-Oceania Davis Cup Group I tie at the Brabourne stadium, Mumbai. Paes was my first indigenous tennis hero – when Vijay Amritraj was at his peak, I was shorter than a tennis racquet. For a cricket crazy nation, Leander is no Sachin, yet his poster adorned my bedroom wall higher than the Little Master.
Today there’s a Sania Mania – women’s tennis gets more eyeballs then the men’s for wardrobe reasons. Leander had to wait for 11 years since that 1990 Wimbeldon for his Padmashree. Sania turned to professional tennis in 2003 and became Padmashree Sania Mirza in 2006. I’ve got nothing against Sania, because of her we Indians have started counting in series of 15, 30, 40 instead of fours and sixes.
Leander Adrian Paes has recently received the most valuable award in his life – Aiyaana. Congratulations Papa Paes.
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