Indian tennis ace Leander Paes recollects what went through his mind en route to the nations first individual Olympic medal in 44 years.
Ever so often, there comes a time when the stars align in perfect symmetry for athletes to do no wrong. The zone, as it's commonly known, isn't frequent but it is the holy grail for athletes as Leander Paes found out at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
After losing the first set and when I was serving at 1-2 and 30-40 in the second set, something magical happened. I got into what we athletes call the zone where you dont really remember what happened for that 45-minute period, Leander Paes shared in an exclusive chat with the Olympic Channel.
Down a set against Fernando Meligeni in the bronze medal match at Atlanta 1996 and staring down the barrel with a break-point to save in the second set, Leander Paes shared exactly how he went on to bring home Indias first individual Olympic medal in 44 years.
When I saved the break-point, won that game 2-2, won the second set and served for the match at 5-4 in the third, I got into a zone, he said recalled still trying to make sense of that magical night at Atlanta, now steeped deep in Indian sports folklore.
I dont even remember the points because I was in such a trance. Thats why I talk about a mystical and magical experience when you play for 1.4 billion people. When you go out to play the Davis Cup or the Olympics, its a different feeling altogether, he added.
Athletes across multiple disciplines have spoken of being in the zone in the past. Its believed to happen when an individual enjoys a supreme state of focus that allows them to compete at their peak.
In essence, when Leander Paes and other athletes have been in the zone, they were completely immersed in their craft and absorbed by what they were doing to the point where only they and their objective existed in the nexus of space and time.
Getting to that state isnt easy or frequent but Leander Paes believes much of it is mind over matter, as he discovered in 1996 Atlanta.
After losing to (Andre) Agassi in the semis (where he had ruptured a few tendons in his wrist), I was in a hard cask for 24 hours and the morning of the bronze medal match where I came to play Fernando Meligeni, I realised that it was more mind over matter on that day, Leander Paes explained.
For all his mental strength and tenacity, its worth pointing out that Leander Paes did prepare for the 1996 Olympic Games meticulously.
You know, I prepared for Atlanta very specifically. As soon as (1992) Barcelona finished, I spent four years preparing for Atlanta.
I even took time off the Pro tour to play in tournaments that have high altitude. It resembled the conditions that were there in Stone Mountain, Atlanta. I played in all the hard courts with high altitude in South America, he added.
When he eventually did get to Atlanta, though, the draw wasnt very kind to him.
When I got to Atlanta, I saw that I had drawn Pete Sampras in the first round and all my contemporaries were tapping me on the back and telling me bad luck, its a tough draw. But I somehow felt that there was a magic about Atlanta.
There was something magical and mystical which is very hard to put into words. But Pete Sampras pulled out, as history will tell, and Richey Reneberg came in for him and I beat him in three sets.
As it turned out, Leander Paes instincts of something magical unfolding at Atlanta proved to be bang on the money. His bronze in the singles that year is still the nations only medal in tennis at the Olympics. Its also a source of goosebumps to the million Indians, who can still recall his finest hour.
Trying to articulate how I feel gives me goosebumps even in a warm room because the magic of playing for my fellow Indians far supersedes when I play for myself in an individual tournament, the seven-time Olympian said.
With the 2020 Olympics just around the corner, Leander Paes will be hoping for one last hurrah in his final year as a professional in the tennis circuit. And Regardless of whether he can find the zone again, you can rest assured that a billion Indians will be backing him to conjure another magical date with destiny in keeping with that transcendental night at Atlanta.
Enjoyed this story? Share it with your friends!
- Discover: 'You're getting sleepy' the amazing science of hypnosis - Sudbury.com - July 21st, 2020
- Dance Bii with WesdaRuler, And More Music News and Gossip | Flagpole - Flagpole Magazine - July 21st, 2020
- MCs, Stunts and Doing Keys: Behind the Scenes With Bad Boy Chiller Crew - VICE UK - July 21st, 2020
- Blackpool nurse is a hit as guest DJ on Dave Pearce Delirium show as a thank you to key workers - Blackpool Gazette - July 21st, 2020
- Tisto to unveil VER:WEST at Tomorrowland's Around The World - Dancing Astronaut - July 21st, 2020
- Magic Beans Gather At Beanstalk: At The Drive-In Part Deux With SunSquabi, Dynohunter, More [Photos] - Live for Live Music - July 21st, 2020
- People who are easily hypnotized are more likely to be addicted to their smartphones, study finds - PsyPost - July 21st, 2020
- INTERVIEW | Gautham Menon feels a big film is all that is needed to bring audience back to theaters - The New Indian Express - July 21st, 2020
- Back in the pool: the new rules of swimming - The Irish Times - July 21st, 2020
- Bachelorette: Brother of Country Star Granger Smith On Clares Season - Screen Rant - July 21st, 2020
- Around the Bluhmin' Town: Dog days of summer have arrived - Verde Independent - July 21st, 2020
- Hayden James creates golden waves with this summer selection - The Irish Sun - July 21st, 2020
- Dil Bechara: Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjana Sanghi Take On Paris And Find Ways To Khulke Jeena Ka - Mashable India - July 21st, 2020
- Trance Definition and Meaning - Bible Dictionary - May 24th, 2020
- Paatal Lok actor Ishwak Singh: Its a trance when you get a part like Imran Ansari - The Indian Express - May 24th, 2020
- Gareth Emery Announces First-Ever UNPLUGGED Digital Concert Featuring the Greatest Vocalists in Trance Music - EDM Sauce - May 24th, 2020
- Trichotillomania, Isolation and Anxiety: What to Do? - The New York Times - May 24th, 2020
- Review | Clowns by Trance Effect - A Humming Heart - May 24th, 2020
- Letter: Let's change how we are responding to COVID-19 - Northwest Herald - May 24th, 2020
- Push your musical abilities with online classes from these city-based artistes - Telegraph India - May 24th, 2020
- Celebrate 20 Years of Above & Beyond and Anjunabeats With New Compilation + Club Mix Collection - EDMTunes - May 24th, 2020
- The virtual dance music festival is officially a thing - Las Vegas Weekly - May 24th, 2020
- Currents | The Western Ghats, Trance Effect, Osho Jain and more - A Humming Heart - May 24th, 2020
- FM Announces Second Trance Of Economic Package, Aims At Farmers, Migrant Workers, Street Vendors And Affordable Housing - Business Standard - May 17th, 2020
- Lady Gaga has given$ 52, mi-for a project, and it is in a trance - Matzav Review - May 17th, 2020
- The Trout Were Socially Distant, but Not the Family Memories - The New York Times - May 17th, 2020
- Exclusive Interview with Top EDM Singer... - One EDM - May 17th, 2020
- Tune to hold tight - The New Indian Express - May 17th, 2020
- Fahadh Faasil and Nazriya Nazim's Love Story: From proposal on the sets of Bangalore Days to their marriage - PINKVILLA - May 17th, 2020
- COVID-19 survivor and DJ John Acquaviva joins other London DJs at benefit for mental health - St. Thomas Times-Journal - May 17th, 2020
- My self-control has gone. I'll take anything that's delivered to my door - The Guardian - May 17th, 2020
- Trance (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes - May 4th, 2020
- Tomorrowland takes on another week with its unique live broadcast United Through Music - Rave Jungle - May 4th, 2020
- Here's where the climax scene of 'Trance' was shot - The News Minute - April 24th, 2020
- 20 Questions With Paul van Dyk: The Trance Icon on Growing Up in East Berlin & Why Social Distancing 'Is Incor - Billboard - April 24th, 2020
- Charlotte de Witte Showcases Two Sides of Her Production Abilities With 'Hold That Sucker Down' Remixes - CULTR - April 24th, 2020
- Above & Beyond's Tony McGuiness re-creates the first episode of 'Trance Around The World' - We Rave You - April 24th, 2020
- Glide Into the Weekend With Steny and Replay M's Pulsating Deep House Single "Nightshift" - EDM.com - April 24th, 2020
- This Weeks VR Game Roundup: BoxVR DLC, Baby Shark, and Meditation - VR Fitness Insider - April 24th, 2020
- Novak Djokovic: 'I think that the tennis industry needs to keep evolving' - Tennis World USA - April 24th, 2020
- PREMIERE: Hugo Costin shares plaintive and poignant new album - Happy Mag - April 24th, 2020
- Zerohs BLQLYTE is a choose-your-own-adventure journey into the psyche - The FADER - April 24th, 2020
- Murder House Flip: The Quibi series' showrunner on why he wanted to flip murder houses. - Slate - April 7th, 2020
- Darlene Snell and Wyatt Langmore Relationship on Ozark, Explained - menshealth.com - April 7th, 2020
- Trance (2020) - IMDb - March 24th, 2020
- Amazon.com: Watch Trance | Prime Video - March 24th, 2020
- How to Wake Up From the Trance of Unworthiness - Good News Network - March 24th, 2020
- Every concert you can livestream on March 23 during the coronavirus outbreak - CNET - March 24th, 2020
- Best Uplifting Trance Mix - All Time Favourites #1 - February 27th, 2020
- The most requested title track composed by Vinayakan from 'Trance' is here! - Times of India - February 27th, 2020
- Witness The Essence of Trance [25 Years of RAM] - EDMTunes - February 27th, 2020
- 'Trance' review: Fails to impress overall despite its bold theme - THE WEEK - February 27th, 2020
- Fahad Faasil's 'Trance' takes on the business of religion - Gulf News - February 27th, 2020
- Manju Warrier joining Padavettu to Trance release, here are the weekly highlights of Mollywood - Times of India - February 27th, 2020
- Mike Zaloxx explores the realm of trance with new banger 'Saving Night' - We Rave You - February 27th, 2020
- Best EDM Nightclubs Where You Can Rave in Chicago - UrbanMatter - February 27th, 2020
- Mickey Hart's Ghosts of Congo Square - Relix - February 27th, 2020
- Armin van Buuren announces all ages 'This is Blah Blah Blah' show - We Rave You - February 27th, 2020
- Paul van Dyk and Dermot Kennedy lead strong live music weekend at The Ritz in Ybor City - Creative Loafing Tampa - February 27th, 2020
- Trance (2020 film) - Wikipedia - February 15th, 2020
- Bryan Kearney Holds No Restraints With His Varied Trance Projects [Interview] - EDM.com - February 15th, 2020
- Paul Van Dyk's 'Duality' Is a Thumping Trance Mood Made For the Club: Exclusive - Billboard - February 15th, 2020
- Fahadh, Nazriya open up about acting together before and after marriage - Onmanorama - February 15th, 2020
- This tactical RPG mixes real-time combat and rewinding to make you a time traveling mage - PC Gamer - February 15th, 2020
- South Movies Releasing This Friday: Vijay Deverakonda's World Famous Lover to Fahadh Faasil's Trance - PINKVILLA - February 15th, 2020
- Trance: Explore Trance Music at Beatport - January 18th, 2020
- Cosmic Gate Reflect on 20 Years of Trance [In-Depth Interview] - EDM Identity - January 18th, 2020
- FahadhNazriya starrer Trance to hit theatres on Feb 14 - Mathrubhumi English - January 18th, 2020
- This 1975 "Sweet Dreams" of Emmylou Harris Will Surely Put You in A Trance - Country Thang Daily - January 18th, 2020
- The science of hypnosis: What is it and how does it work? - Firstpost - January 18th, 2020
- Review: KAS:ST - Hold Me To The Light (Tale Of Us Remix) - Resident Advisor - January 18th, 2020
- Song Lyrics of 'Black Swan' by BTS - Glamsham - January 18th, 2020
- AGF crowns top green events of 2019 - IQ Magazine - January 18th, 2020
- Most awaited Malayalam films of 2020, from One and Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham to Thuramukham and Kurup - Firstpost - January 18th, 2020
- Out In the Reeds With Beth Custer - East Bay Express - January 12th, 2020
- Whethan Returns with New Single "Stay Forever" and Fantasy Tour - EDM Identity - January 12th, 2020
- Eyes Everywhere Gets Us Ready for the Club with 'Coupla Blues' [Exclusive Premiere] - EDM Identity - January 12th, 2020
- Most awaited Malayalam films of 2020, from One and Marakkar: Arabikadalinte Simham to Thuramukham and Kurup | MOOSE GAZETTE - Moose Gazette - January 12th, 2020
- Tame Impala Try To Save You From Sinking Into The Past On Lost In Yesterday - MTV.com - January 12th, 2020
- BWW Review: HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at Portland Center Stage - Broadway World - January 12th, 2020