Indian tennis player Leander Paes is the first Asian man to be nominated to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
The International Tennis Hall of Fame announced the class of 2024 nominees in a press release on Tuesday. Paes was nominated alongside Cara Black, Ana Ivanović, Carlos Moyá, Daniel Nestor and Flavia Pennetta.
According to the press release, Paes, who began competing in the early 1990s, is lauded for his career as a doubles player. Over the course of his nearly three-decade career, he won 18 Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles.
Paes also won a bronze medal in doubles at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, becoming India’s only Olympic medalist in tennis.
Paes thanked his support system for the role they played in his career.
“It means the world to me that I am the first Asian man to be nominated for the International Tennis Hall of Fame in the Player Category,” Paes said in a press release. “After three decades of passion for our sport and playing for 1.3-plus billion Indians in the Olympics and Davis Cup, I am thrilled that my hard work has been recognized. I have so much gratitude for my parents, siblings, coaches, Davis Cup captains and everyone who has played a role in my career.”
“Tennis has given me so much, and I hope this nomination inspires every young kid around the world that with passion in your heart, hard work and belief in yourself, you too can become a champion.”
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