At 42 Leander Paes wins career’s 17th Grand Slam

RSTV Bureau
New York: Martina Hingis and Leander Paes react during the mixed doubles final match against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey, of the United States, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in New York. Photo - PTI

New York: Martina Hingis and Leander Paes react during the mixed doubles final match against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey, of the United States, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in New York.
Photo – PTI

Leander Paes and Martina Hingis have won the mixed doubles title at the US Open.

The Paes-Hingis duo defeated the American pair of Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey 6-4 3-6 10-7 in the finals to lift the trophy.

With this win, 42-year-old Paes has created history by winning the highest number of mixed doubles titles in Open era. Paes has now won 9 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, surpassing former partner Mahesh Bhupathi’s record of 8 titles.

“Martina said something that was quite interesting. She said you have to have the guts to go after something, and I don’t believe that I personally have the technique or the caliber of talent that Martina has. One thing I do have is the guts. I will go for it. It’s been part of my whole life is about perseverance, just trying to find a way to succeed,” Paes said after his win.

Paes is now the most successful male tennis player in the mixed doubles format. In this format, he is now behind only the legendary Martina Navratilova who has won 10 mixed doubles trophies.

For the duo, this is the third major title together this season. They grabbed the Australian Open and the Wimbledon titles early this season. They have become the first team since 1969 and second in the Open Era to capture three of four majors in a calendar year.

New York: Leander Paes and Martina Hingis pose for a photo after winning the mixed doubles final match against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey, of the United States, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in New York.  Photo - PTI

New York: Leander Paes and Martina Hingis pose for a photo after winning the mixed doubles final match against Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Sam Querrey, of the United States, at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in New York.
Photo – PTI

“What I love about this teamwork is that in any partnership there’s got to be one person who brings the energy to the team. There’s got to be one person who takes all the pressure on their shoulder and drives the team forward….I know if I can keep Martina happy, if I can keep her relaxed, the tennis I don’t even have to worry about. This young girl is phenomenal on the tennis court and off of it,” said Paes in praise of his Swiss partner.

In the match, fourth seeded pair of Paes and Hingis broke Mattek-Sands at love to take a 2-1 lead in the opening set to secure the break. With that momentum Paes easily closed the set at 6-4.

In the second set, Mattek-Sands hit two straight winners to break Hingis’ serve and the Americans led 3-1. Hingis then saved three set points on her serve at get to 2-5, but Querrey easily held his own serve in the next game to send the contest into a super tiebreak.

In the tiebreak, the unseeded Americans cruised to 4-1 and grabbed the first mini-break. But Hingis and Paes took the minibreak back on Mattek-Sands’ serve at the next opportunity. The match was crucially poised at 7-7, but then Paes won three points on his serve to close out the match at 10-7, winning his 17th overall Grand Slam title.

Post his historic win, greetings poured in for Paes from all over the world. Indian President Pranab Mukerjee and PM Modi  also congratulated him on Twitter.

“Well done @Leander @mhingis, hearty congratulations on winning the U.S Open mixed doubles,” the President’s office tweeted.

“Well played again, @Leander & @mhingis. Congrats on a great win. We are all very delighted,” said PM Modi on twitter.

Hingis too was congratulated for winning her overall 19th Grand Slam title. And she is not done yet as she is also vying for the Women’s Doubles title with Sania Mirza. They are up against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan and Casey Dellacqua of Australia.