There is clearly no one who is more well-versed than Leander Paes in the world of tennis. The Indian tennis player will be the chief guest at a special tennis tournament organised by actors Kunal Thakkur and Mrunal Jain called the Tennis Premiere League.
Considered to be one of the best doubles and mixed doubles players, Leander has won eight doubles and ten mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. Besides this, he received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 1996–97, the Arjuna Award in 1990, the Padma Shri award in 2001 and the Padma Bhushan in January 2014 for his contribution to tennis in India.
The organisers are thrilled to have him on board. “Each of us took to tennis aspiring to be like Leander. His name is synonymous with tennis. I have huge respect for him and I'm highly indebted to him for supporting us and our league. He is truly an inspiration on the court as well as off it,” says Kunal.
Leander, too, is happy to be on board and says that the game of tennis is such that it can only be enjoyed as a community. “I am supporting the Tennis Premiere League. Tennis a wonderful sport to bring the community together and that is why I am supporting this initiative. I hope all of you have fun,” says Leander.
The league promises to provide a platform for tennis players all over the country to come and compete with each other. There will be six teams of 22 players each. The different categories in the game will include under 14, under 18, open and 40 +. In fact, more than 600 registrations are anticipated from all over India.
It was their love for the game that got Kunal and Mrunal to come up with the idea of Tennis Premiere League. “Tennis has given me a lot and I feel it's my turn to give back to the sport. India has IPL and Pro kabbadi, our intention of starting this league was that now tennis also should reach each and every home. Tennis is a wonderful sport and we hope that everyone supports this initiative of ours,” says Kunal.