Of the 18 Grand Slam titles (eight in men’s doubles and 10 in mixed doubles) which tennis ace Leander Paes has won till date, five have come at the gorgeous green grass courts in Wimbledon.
“During Wimbledon, which happens in the English summer, it always rains. And as a result, the play gets delayed. It is very difficult to eat during such breaks as there might be many stoppages. So, I (usually) ask my favourite chef in London to prepare Rasam and give it to me in a bottle,” said Leander.
“After a match or whenever there is a delay, I would heat up the Rasam in the microwave oven, which is placed at the locker room, and have it. (When breaks are on), the British players would drink tea while the Americans would prefer coffee,” stated the 47-year-old, who spent five years of his teenage life in Chennai.
Leander had pursued his education at the MCC School and resided at Poes Garden between 1986 and 1990. Reliving his fond memories of the city, the 1996 Olympic Games bronze medallist said: “My Tamizh back then (in the early 1990s) was very good. Some of my best friends are from Chennai. I used to go to the Marina Beach and run four times a week. And, the Sunday buffet at the Chola Hotel (during those days) was phenomenal.”
The ever-green Leander also conveyed his admiration for famed actor Rajinikanth, who is affectionately called as Superstar and Thalaivar. “Rajini sir is someone I have always looked up to. He has stayed true to his values and character. And, he sets an example for a lot of us. Rajini sir is one of the best not only in the south but also (the whole of) India. Basha, Thalapathy and Annamalai are some of my favourite Tamizh movies.”