Leander Paes
Paes poses with his priced possession. Photo: Twitter/Leander Paes

Indian Tennis star Leander Paes received the country's third highest civilian honour - the Padma Bhushan by President Pranab Mukherjee at a private ceremony in the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Saturday.

Paes' contribution to the field of sports, especially tennis, in India was recognized and hence conferred the Padma Bhushan along with 11 others from different fields.

The 40-year-old represented the country in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics - his first - where he won singles bronze medal which was the first medal for India since 1980 and the first individual medal since 1952. He also plans to be part of the 2016 Rio Games - which will be a historic seventh Olympics presence.

He has won eight doubles and six mixed doubles Grand Slam titles. His records include 53 doubles titles and one singles title. He is one of the most feared and respected doubles players in the world.

"Padma Bhushan...Thanks for the years of support everyone!!! The rest is still unwritten...Jai Hind!" Paes wrote on his Twitter page as wishes kept flowing in for the Indian doubles specialist.

"Pre Padma Bhushan Ceremony...29 years of my journey. A proud moment. I miss my motivation & inspiration, my baby Aiyana," Paes tweeted before the ceremony.

 In 2001, Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi received India's fourth highest honour - the Padma Shri.

2014 winners for the category of sports:

Padma Bhushan: Leander Paes (tennis) and Pullela Gopichand (badminton).

Padma Shri: Yuvraj Singh (cricket), Dipika Pallikal (squash), Anjum Chopra (women's cricket), Sunil Dabas (kabadi), Love Raj Singh Dharmshaktu and Mamta Sodha (mountaineering), H Boniface Prabhu (wheelchair tennis).

Image credit: Twitter/Leander Paes