What's the story?
India's ace tennis player Leander Paes has revealed the reason why he came up with the 'One Last Roar' slogan in addition to explaining why he will be hanging up his boots at the end of 2020.
Professional player Leander Paes has contributed to Indian tennis for over two decades now. The Kolkata-born player has an astounding ten mixed doubles and eight doubles Grand Slam titles (total of 18) to his name. Paes is amongst a select group of players to have achieved the double of Men's Doubles/Mixed Doubles titles.
The charismatic player won India's highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 1996-97. He has also been conferred the Arjuna Award (1990), the Padma Shri (2001), and the Padma Bhushan (2014) for his staggering contributions to the sport in India.
Leander Paes won a Bronze for the nation at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games in the men's singles category. The veteran player has represented the nation in a commendable seven Olympic Games (1992-2016) and is the only Indian tennis player to do so. The tennis icon is also the most successful doubles player in the Davis Cup with 44 wins.
Earlier in December 2019, Paes had announced that he will be bidding adieu to the pro-circuit by the end of 2020.
In an emotional tweet that revealed he will be drawing the curtains on his illustrious career, Paes had asked fans to share their favourite 'Leander memories' over the years using #OneLastRoar.
The heart of the matter
Highly regarded for his volleys and drop shots, Paes finally revealed the reason behind his 'One Last Roar' slogan. Speaking to ANI, Paes said:
"You have to be clear on this fact, every time I step on the court, I think this could be my last match here. Whether it was in Australia, in Pune last week. That is the thought process behind my slogan of 'One Last Roar'. This will go on throughout the year. It's all about doing my best at every campaign, I want to go out there and do something."
The veteran added that he wanted to keep playing at the levels he is 'used to'.
2020 is set to be an emotional rollercoaster for Paes as well as his fans. The iconic player will now be channeling his energies on building a future Indian team for 2021. A visibly emotional Paes further told reporters, with the heaviness evident in his voice, why he was participating in the ongoing ATP tour in Bengaluru:
"One day, the music will slow down and it will go silent. Just like music, there are many songs in an album and those albums are something I look forward to. I have played with the tri-colour in my heart, it is special, the reason I am doing this ATP tour is to give all the fans a special thank you."
Indian tennis fans will be looking to make the most of all the matches Leander Paes plays henceforth. The 46-year-old veteran will be in action in his Round of 16 match at the ATP Challenger in Bengaluru on 12th February 2020. Paes and his Australian partner Matthew Ebden will be locking horns with the Chinese-Slovenian pair of Zhang Zhizhen/Blaz Rola.
The iconic player will go on a select few tournaments in 2020.