New Delhi: India veteran tennis player Leander Paes on Wednesday announced that the coming year, 2020, will be his last year on the court. The player took to Instagram to wish fans a Merry Christmas and along with that he also announced 2020 as his farewell.
"This being said, I want to announce 2020 as my farewell year as a pro tennis player. Firstly, I want to thank my parents for their genetics, guidance, discipline, the environment they created and unconditional love they have always shown me throughout my life. I would not be who I am without your unstinting support and belief in me. I love you," Paes wrote in a post.
In a long post, he thanked his sisters Jacquie and Maria who stood behind him in his life journey. He also thanked his daughter Aiyana and said she is his inspiration. "I want to thank my two sisters Jacquie and Maria. They are my Rocks. Being older than me, they have brought me up to understand the ups and downs of life`s journey. And have brought me up to understand how to be a gentleman as well as stand firm to our beliefs and morals that our parents have instilled in us. I love you two," the post read. "I want to thank my daughter Aiyana, for teaching me that the most beautiful thing in the world is to have a daughter. You are my inspiration. Papa loves you," it added.
The 46-year-old said that he will take part in selected tournaments in the coming year and will celebrate with his friends and fans around the world. "I am looking forward to the 2020 tennis calendar where I will be playing a few select tournaments, travelling with my team and celebrating with all my friends and fans around the world. It is all of you who have inspired me to become me and I want to take this year to say "Thank you" to you," Paes wrote.
Paes has won eight doubles and ten mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. He received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, India`s highest sporting honour, in 1996-97; the Arjuna Award in 1990; the Padma Shri award in 2001; and India`s third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan prize in January 2014, for his outstanding contribution to tennis. He won a bronze medal for India in singles in the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. He competed in consecutive Olympics from 1992 to 2016, making him the first Indian and only tennis player to compete at seven Olympic Games.