Aug 3, 1996: Leander Paes Won Bronze For India In Atlanta Olympics

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NET Web Desk

Leander Paes won India a bronze in Lawn Tennis on this day at Atlanta, ending 44 year-long-wait for an individual medal in Olympics.

Paes, a 22-year-old wildcard who ended a 44-year wait for a single Olympic medal for India dropped the first set of his Olympic campaign to Richey Reneberg of the United States, but he came back to win eight straight sets to set up a semi-final showdown against Andre Agassi against all odds.

After losing to Agassi 7-6, 6-3, he faced Fernando Meligeni of Brazil in the bronze medal match. He was down one set to Meligeni, but he fought back to win bronze by beating the Brazilian 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Paes is still the first Indian tennis player to win an Olympic medal. It’s also a source of pride for the millions of Indians who remember him at his best.

Paes has been the driving force behind India’s Davis Cup efforts for years, winning notable matches against France, Switzerland, and Croatia along the way. Paes won 18 Grand Slam victories in both men’s and mixed doubles, earning him a reputation as a doubles specialist.

It’s obvious that he’s losing his fire; it’s only normal. Nonetheless, his Olympic bronze was a watershed moment; India has since brought home a good number of individual medals.

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