Indian tennis stalwart Leander Paes dropped out of the top-100 in the men’s doubles ATP rankings for the first time since 2000 in the list that was announced on Monday. He dropped from 96 and is now 101 in the doubles charts with 856 points.
The Kolkata-born tennis player is now the fourth-highest ranked Indian in the doubles rankings that sees Rohan Bopanna at 38, Divij Sharan at 46 and Purav Raja at 93. Raja, who was ranked 101 before the latest rankings jumped eight spots.
Paes, one of the finest tennis player in the country and a bronze medalist in the singles event in the Olympics in 1996, dominated the doubles scene from 1999 along with partner Mahesh Bhupathi. However, constant war of words between the duo ended their pairing, but that hardly stopped Paes from achieving the zenith. He achieved the rare feat of competing with 100 different ATP partners, which only went on to show his adaptability.
However, the 46-year-old has been unable to keep his form going in recent years, and dropped out of the top-50 in 2016. The winner of 18 Grand Slams has not had the best years on the circuit, with a win-loss ratio of 11-14 in 2019. He has reached the finals just once this year at the Ilkley Trophy in Great Britain, but went down in straight sets to Alsam Ul Haq Qureshi and Santiago Gonzalez 3-6, 4-6.
His performance in the greatest stage of all – the Grand Slams have been below par as well. He was ousted in the first round in Australia, in the round of 32 at Roland Garros, in the first round at Wimbledon and faced yet another ouster in the first round at the US Open.
The former world number 1 has not played since then and even made himself unavailable for the upcoming Davis Cup clash against Pakistan. He will be eyeing a record eighth successive Olympics appearance next year at Tokyo, but desperately needs to pull up his rankings to be a first-choice in the doubles team.