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Celebrating Paes's Cup career

Raakesh Natraj

— Photo: R. Ragu

AITA President Yashwant Sinha felicitates Leander Paes.

CHENNAI: “As long as these legs carry me, I will go out and represent India,” said Leander Paes, India's most successful player in the Davis Cup, at a function organised to celebrate his 21 years of participation in the competition.

Paes was presented with a shawl and a commemorative plaque by Yashwant Sinha, President, All India Tennis Association, in the presence of Anil Khanna, Secretary, AITA, and M.A. Alagappan, TNTA President.

“This is as much a celebration of you, the country, the tricolour and the crest as it is of me,” said a teary-eyed Paes.

The occasion was graced by a host of illustrious Davis Cuppers, including the Krishnans — Ramanathan and Ramesh — Naresh Kumar, Jaideep Mukherjea, Mahesh Bhupathi, along with Paes's father Vece Paes, and Karti P. Chidambaram, vice-President, TNTA.

S.P. Mishra, non-playing captain of the current Davis Cup squad, called Paes “the best ambassador of the country.”

Ramesh Krishnan used Arthur Ashe's comment on Jimmy Connors to describe his combative instinct, saying he “relished a contest.”

Ramanathan Krishnan described the 37-year-old player as the “greatest athlete to have stepped on a tennis court.”

Paes concluded the evening saying that wearing India's colours was the greatest joy that he had ever experienced.

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