In every sport, records are the basis of distinction by which players separate themselves from the rest. Records define the potency of a player and also make a mark in history, until they are broken or revised by a newer player. The players’ names are highlighted in the record books for their outstanding achievements, and that’s exactly where the Limca Book of Records (LBR) comes in.
The 26th edition of the LBR was unveiled by Coca-Cola India at the Jaipur Literary Festival last week. The book is extensive with its stats, and has inspired many people who aspire to break the limits and set new trends.
Here is a look at some of the most remarkable tennis records contained in the LBR:
The Indian Express: Inspiration for young players
The pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes, also known as “The Indian Express”, won several tournaments in doubles. They have exerted a huge influence over Indian youth and encouraged them to take up professional tennis. The duo took part in the Olympics and several other tournaments, bagging many medals for the nation.
The Limca Book of Records meticulously chronicles the numerous events played by the Indian Express, as they have been the best ever doubles pair from India.
The Indian Express won the French Open men’s doubles title in 1999 and thus became first Indian pair to win a Grand Slam. They later won the first men’s doubles Wimbledon title in the same year.
Leander Paes’ triumphs over the years
Leander Paes, with eight career Grand Slam doubles titles and six Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, is the most successful tennis player from India. His hunger for tennis is the same at the age of 41 as it was at the age of 20, making him a tremendous source of inspiration for youngsters.
Paes has several individual records under his name in the Limca Book of Records. He won the US Open junior title in the year 1991, and he is the only Indian player to do so. He was ranked No. 1 in the juniors that year too.
Paes also holds the record for most matches for India in Davis Cup. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2014 for his contribution to Indian tennis, making him the second tennis player after Ramanathan Krishnan to be conferred with the prestigious award. Paes was also honoured with the Padma Shree in 2001 and the highest sports award – the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna – in 1997.
Sania Mirza: The role model for Indian girls
Sania Mirza is the only woman tennis player from India who has won Grand Slam titles. She is an idol for the female youth and her achievements are worthy of the highest praise.
Mirza has won three mixed doubles Majors. The Hyderabadi partnered Mahesh Bhupathi to win the 2009 Australian Open, thereby becoming the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam.
In 2014, she captured her third Grand Slam mixed doubles title by winning the 2014 US Open crown with Brazilian partner Bruno Soares. Mirza also participated in the Incheon Asiad in Korea where she won a mixed doubles gold with Saketh Myneni.
No shortage of remarkable tennis feats by Indians
In the year 1954, Ramanathan Krishnan won the junior Wimbledon title. He was honoured with Padma Bhushan for his extraordinary career, which paved the way for future generations of athletes to take up the sport.
Following the footsteps of old veterans and tennis superstars, the year 2009 saw a glimpse of a future superstar. Yuki Bhambri won the Junior Australian Open in 2009 to make the entire world sit up and take notice. He was the first Indian to do so, and he was also ranked No. 1 on the juniors’ circuit.
The LBR is awash with many more tennis feats by Indians, and is the perfect tool to remind the country’s fans about the possibilities that the sport holds. Tennis could one day become a major sport among the country’s consciousness, and the LBR could well hasten that process.