Leander Paes is undoubtedly the greatest tennis player to have emerged out of India. With an Olympic bronze and 18 Grand Slam titles, Paes has time and again reiterated the fact that he is the best India ever has produced.
The 47 year old is currently eyeing a record eighth Olympics appearance before bowing out of the sport. Though most of his stellar achievements have come in men's doubles and mixed doubles, Paes was not someone one could write off easily in the singles category as well.
Did you know that Paes once defeated Roger Federer in a men's singles match?
Yes, Paes' win against Federer came more than 20 years back in the year 2000. Paes was a well-established player till then, having an Olympic medal and one Wimbledon doubles title against his name. Federer on the other hand was an upcoming player – young but talented, and termed as the one to look out for in near future.
The duo clashed at the Indian Wells Masters in USA. Paes lost a hard-fought first set 5-7, but soon capitalised against a seemingly tired Federer to win the game 5-7, 6-1, 6-4.
Paes would later, at the fag end of his career, go on to term Federer as the Greatest Tennis Player of All Time.
He also recalled defeating Federer and said, "I beat him at the Indian Wells qualifying in 2000. Federer was an upcoming player then. He rifled a backhand against me with a straight arm, straight up the line that went like a laser beam. My god, I had never seen anyone do that. Not even Andre Agassi," to the Times of India in 2020.