Bengaluru: Indian tennis legend Leander Paes will bid adieu to the sport in 2020, the 46-year-old announced on Christmas.

Paes, who last month won a record 44th doubles match, against Pakistan, in Davis Cup, took to the micro-blogging website Twitter to say that he will retire.

“I want to announce 2020 as my farewell year as a pro tennis player,” Paes wrote on his Twitter page on Christmas Day.

The Indian icon, who has won 18 Grand Slam doubles titles, said he will be playing “a few select” tournaments before hanging up his racquet.

“I am looking forward to the 2020 tennis calendar where I will be playing a few select tournaments, travelling with my team and celebrating with all my friends and fans around the world,” Paes, who won 1996 Olympics singles bronze medal in Atlanta, said.

Paes, who was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 1996, thanked his parents. “I want to thank my parents for their genetics, guidance, discipline, the environment they created and unconditional love they've always shown me throughout my life, I would not be who I am without your unstinting support and belief in me, I love you.”

Paes’ parents Vece Paes and Jennifer Paes are former athletes. Vece represented India in hockey and Jennifer in basketball. Both participated in 1972 Olympics in Munich. Vece was part of Indian team that won bronze.

Paes also thanked his two sisters. “I want to thank my two sisters Jacquie and Maria. They are my Rocks. Being older than me, they have brought me up to understand the ups and downs of life's journey. And have brought me up to understand how to be a gentleman as well as stand firm to your beliefs and morals that our parents have instilled in us. I love you two.”

“2020 is going to be an emotional one and I look forward to seeing all of you out there roaring with me. It has been an honour being your lionheart,” Paes concluded.