As we head into a new Olympic season, we profile 5 times Indian athletes brought Olympic glory to the country:
Leander Paes wins singles bronze
He may be known as a doubles specialist, and not without reason. 17-time Grand Slam winner Leander Paes won every single one of those titles in combination with another player, but his sole Olympic medal was in the singles.
At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, in the United States, Leander Paes was not among the seeded players in the men’s singles. Entering the tournament as a wild card, Paes was likely not expected to excel.
Pitted against 11th seeded Richy Renberg of the United States in his first match, Paes beat the American and progressed to the third round to eventually face third seeded Swedish ace Thomas Enqvist.
Paes absolutely excelled at the tournament, first dismantling Enqvist to beat him in straight sets; having beaten one of the toughest opponents he could be up against, Paes then beat Italy’s Renzo Furlan in the quarter-finals, again beating the 12th seed in straight sets.
He would eventually face then World No. 1 Andre Agassi in the semi-finals, and although he lost to the American top seed, Paes seriously taxed him, taking Agassi to a tiebreak in the first set.
Following that loss, he played Brazil’s Fernando Meligeni, coming down after dropping a set to thoroughly beat his rival
That superlative performance would win Paes Olympic glory in an extremely proud moment for both player and country.