Leander was born in Goa, India to Vece Paes and Jennifer Paes, both of whom were former Olympians. His father Vece Paes was a hockey player who represented India in the 1972 Munich Olympics games. That year the hockey team returned home with a bronze medal. His mother on the other hand, captained the Indian basketball team in the 1980 Asian basketball championship.
In the 1996 Summer Olympics, Leander reached the apex of his career by beating Reneberg, Pereira, Enqvist and Furlan before losing to Agassi in the semi-finals.
He won against Meligeni in the bronze medal match to become the first athlete from India since KD Jadhav in 1952, to win an individual medal. His effort matched that of his father who won a Bronze Medal as a part of the Field Hockey team in the 1972 Olympics.
Paes began playing tennis at the tender age of 5. He captured the 1990 Wimbledon Jun ior title and was ranked as the No.1 junior player in the world. He turned professional in 1991 and in 1992, he reached the quarter finals of the doubles event in the Barcelona Summer Olympics with Ramesh Krishnan.
His first successful year in the ATP circuit came in 1993 when he partnered Sebastien Lareau to reach the US Open doubles semi-final. After having a moderate season in 1994 he reached the Quarter final of the 1995 Australian Open doubles with Kevin Ullyett.
From 1996 he started partnering with fellow Indian Mahesh Bhupathi, which proved to be a winning combination. 1997 proved to a fantastic year for the duo. The team of Paes and Bhupathi reached the semi-finals of the US Open, their best Grand Slam result. Paes climbed the doubles ranking from 89 at the beginning to 14 by the end of the year.
The doubles team of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi grew stronger in 1998 reaching the Semi-Finals of 3 grand slams, the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. In the year 1999, the duo reached the finals of all the 4 grand slams winning Wimbledon and the French Open, thus becoming the first Indian pair to win a doubles event at a Grand Slam tournament.
Paes also teamed up with Lisa Raymond to win the Mixed doubles event at Wimbledon and the same year he earned the No.1 ranking in the doubles.
In 2001 the successful twosome won the French Open but had 1st round exits in the other 3 grand slams and in 2002, Paes and Bhupathi won the gold medal at the 2002 Asian Games in Busan.
Between 2003 and present, Paes has increasingly focused on his doubles and mixed doubles game. Leander won the mixed doubles events at the Australian Open and Wimbledon with Martina Navaratilova, both in 2003. In the 2004 Athens Olympic Games he paired up with Mahesh Bhupathi, failing again at the semi finals stage.
His next Grand Slam success was at the U.S. Open doubles event in 2006.
Paes lead the Indian tennis team at the Doha Asian Games in 2006 and won two Gold Medals in the Men's doubles (partnering Mahesh Bhupathi) and Mixed doubles (partnering Sania Mirza). He has successfully maintained his doubles ranking in the top 20 of the world between 2005 and 2007.
Leander Paes is considered one of the top Davis Cup players of India with a record of 81-30 overall as of May 2007. He was part of the Indian Davis Cup team that reached the Semi-Finals of the 1993 Davis Cup with wins against Switzerland and France, eventually losing out to Australia.
In 2007, Leander had 3 wins (2 Doubles & 1 singles) and no losses in the Davis Cup.
Paes was given the honour of carrying the Indian Flag at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics and has been awarded the Padmashri by the Government of India in 2001.
Birth date : June 17,1973 Turned pro : 1991
Birthplace : Goa, India Residence : Calcutta, India; Orlando, Florida
Highest singles ranking : 73 (Aug 24, 1998) Highest doubles ranking : 1 (June 21, 1999)