Of father and daughter

Oct 20, 2013, 23:45 IST | Urmimala Banerjee

Though he has won 14 Grand Slam titles, tennis ace Leander Paes ranks his bronze medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics as his most cherished win

It feels truly special because since then there was a steady number of athletes from India winning medals from India,” says Lee. CS caught up with him for a chat on family, success and sports.

Leander Paes

Off the court
When I am at home, I spend a lot of time with my daughter Aiyana. Being a parent is one of life’s biggest joys. Today, my daughter looks like a mature young lady. At home, I love being with Aiyana through her routine--waking her up, dropping and picking her from up from school and other classes like ballet, football or taekwondo. Besides that, I also do some corporate work and a few mundane things of life.

Winning attitude
The manner in which I look at wins and losses has been the same all my life. If you observe, in an actor, musician or any individual’s life, failures outnumber the successes. Thankfully for me, the successes have come in bigger tournaments like the Grand Slams. These wins have overshadowed my losses.

Family matters
My parents are my source of strength. They have been with me through thick and thin. My dad is my best friend and confidante. It feels great to see the rapport that my daughter shares with her grandfather. They play together, tease one another and learn from each other. It’s important for me that Aiyana grows up bonding well with her grandparents.

In high spirits
The first step to staying motivated is to be happy, it is the core of every positive achievement. I feel people should surround themselves with happy and positive people. I am blessed to have a great team. My dad is my doctor and mentor. Rick Leach, my coach has been with me for 19 years and so is my fitness trainer, David Herman and masseur Sanjay Singh who has stayed with me for 24 years. I would not have been the man I am without them. Over the years, they have sacrificed a lot of their family time to make my life better.

My idols
I adore Rod Laver and Jimmy Connors. I learnt a lot from Ivan Lendl with whom I spent a lot of time in my younger days. My doubles partner, Martina Navratilova was a great teacher. She shared a lot of her experiences with me, and guided me to have longevity in my career.

Power in the grassroots
Eighty per cent of India’s population lives in the villages, where people have hard lives. They are naturally rugged and have immense mental discipline. This is why we are witnessing many sportsmen from villages. They have the genetics and lifestyle that suit the competitive world of professional sports. 

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