Olympic medallist and veteran Indian tennis star Leander Paes who is on his swansong played his last ATP event on home soil on Saturday where he finished runners-up and received a rousing farewell on Sunday ahead of the singles final on Sunday at the KSLTA Stadium. Also Read - Leander Paes is Playing Well, Should Continue as Long as he Can: Mahesh Bhupathi
Gracing the occasion were former Olympians and sports internationals and athletes who began their career at the same time as the Olympic medallist. Also Read - Leander Paes Feels Indian Tennis Need The Likes of Rahul Dravid, Pullela Gopichand to Flourish
Around 1000 people from various sporting fields were present at the felicitation ceremony including Jude Felix, Raghunath Vakkliga, Arjun Halappa (All Hockey), Reshma and Nisha Millet (Swimming), Pramila Aiyappa, Ashwini Nachappa, Reeth Abraham (athletes) and Davis Cupper Prahlad Srinath. Also Read - Will Focus Towards Bringing Up Next Generation of Indian Tennis: Leander Paes on Plans Post Retirement
All the athletes regaled the audience with their experience with Paes who was overcome with emotion.
“All of you taught me how the passion for sport, dedication and hard work helps us to achieve success,” said the 46-year-old while requesting the audience to give a standing ovation to the former athletes.
Earlier in the day, Paes’ former doubles partner Mahesh Bhupati praised his form and said if he continues to play this way he may contemplate pushing his retirement by another year.
“He’s playing well still. He made the final of Bengaluru. If he continues to play well for a few more months, maybe he will play for another year. I think the way he’s playing he should play as long as he can,” Bhupathi told PTI about Paes, with whom he has won three of his four Grand Slam doubles titles.