Sunday, April 09, 2006

My hero ..

So often , we come across sportsmen who touch our heart , fire our imagination and inspire us to reach heights we would've never even dreamt of asipiring for , let alone achieve.Some of them stay forever in our memories , while some just peter out.

Think I was just seven , when I saw a certain seventeen year old Indian tennis player make his Davis Cup debut against South Africa. Don't remember as to what happened in his first match , but all that he has done ever since , is the stuff legends are made of.

Leander Vece Paes exemplifies what sheer dedication and grit , coupled with a hell lot of courage can do to an individual. As a player on the ATP tour , Leander would come across as one of those also rans , who would win a couple of rounds (if he is lucky), run around a bit , but then just phase out. But with the Indian tricolour on his back , Leander becomes a man possessed. Such is the greatness of the man that the statistics of 108 Davis Cup victories,47 of them in singles and an almost surrealistic 20 wins out of 22 matches in doubles , hardly tell us the entire story. Seeing him churn out one match winning performance after another on the Davis Cup circuit , without creating any fuss about the lack of support is what the man is all about.

His bronze medal winning performance at the Atlanta Olympics , the mauling of Goran Ivanesevic on a sultry Delhi afternoon , the browbeating of Henri Leconte , fighting till his last breath against Andy Roddick , all his best performances have come when representing the nation. Leander Paes embodies a true Indian hero.. Fighting against and rising above the system , having at the most decent if not mediocre talents , but still carrying on relentlessly on the dint of his determination and love for the country.
In an era , where the likes of Sania Mirza ( who's not even come close to winning a Grand Slam event ) have a cult following , the likes of Leander and their performances always get underestimated.They say Ramanathan Krishnan was a great sportsman , the first Indian to be ranked as high as number three in the world, but it is very tough to comprehend , that anyone could have made as much an impression on Indian tennis , as much as Paes has.

Today .. He has nothing left to prove. But faced with a situation where India was set to lose their Davis Cup tie against Pakistan for the first time , Leander took over the mantle, and did what he is best at ...Chipping and charging , running from one end of the court to the other , and volleying like no one else can. Age might have eaten away at his fitness , but his undying passion for success will always remain untouched. Watching him get teary eyed after the victory would have melted even the sternest of hearts.

A day would come , when even he would fade away into the sunset..And what a sad day it will be.Watching an icon bid goodbye to a sport he graced so beautifully.


Anonymous Sampreeth said...

Very well said indeed!
Still remember that marathon bronze medal game against croatia.It was very disappointing having come so close to doubling our medals tally after a stunner by RVS Rathore.
About Ramanathan Krishnan..His match against tomas koch has to be Indian sport's greatest comeback story till VVS in Kol.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Amit Panhale said...

Many people try to undermine his achievements by saying that he has achieved all this against not very competitive opponents, to which I disagree on two counts.

1.To carry the burden of expectations of 1 billion people day in and day out and to keeping living upto them is no mean task.

2. And to do all this for nearly 17 yrs in a row inspite of an unfavourable system speaks volumes of the calibre and commitment of a player.

There has never a more poignant moment for me personally then the one today when PAES cried as spoke about how proud he was to do it for India today.

11:02 AM  
Blogger netneo said...

Kya baat hai
Very well written
I guess Paes is having the time of his life personally with his baby and winning this monumental match

11:37 AM  
Blogger abaddon_67 said...

I guess nothing could do his efforts more justice , than the current crop of youngsters rising to the occasion and atleast putting up a fight against lowly ranked opponents.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous shreyas said...

righly said punit.....though world cricket has seen legendry spinners like murli,kumble,prasanna to name a few......there wont b anyone like warnie......true genious of spin bowling...a icon for sumone.....a pioneer....... no one can ever match his calibre....his on field achievements wr always able to put a blanket on his off field contraversies......kudos to warnie!!!wil surely miss him....

and wat to say about mcgrath.........simply want to give him A STANDING OVATION!!!!

even i wud like to say.......DONT GO PLEASE!!!!!

10:39 AM  

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