Paes Wins Historic Ninth Mixed Doubles Title
Leander Paes passed countryman Mahesh Bhupathi in claiming a men's record ninth Grand Slam mixed doubles title on Friday at the US Open.
Paes teamed with Martina Hingis to defeat Sam Querrey and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 3-6, 10-7. The Indian-Swiss pair fired 32 winners and staved off four of five break points over the 77-minute affair. They rallied from an early 4-1 deficit in the Match Tie-break, claiming nine of the next 12 points to prevail.
"Martina said something that was quite interesting," said Paes. "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. My whole life is about perseverance, just trying to find a way to succeed. Sometimes the chips are against you; sometimes they fool you. 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. We actually have our best times when we are on the practice court. We were on the practice court before the Australian Open. We were on for like two hours practising for a final. Just having fun. I learn a lot from her."
It was the third mixed doubles crown of the year for Paes and Hingis, who defeated Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic in the Australian Open final and beat Alexander Peya and Timea Babos in the Wimbledon title match. They are the first team since 1969 and second in the Open Era to capture three of four majors in a calendar year.
Paes, who passed Bhupathi with his ninth mixed title among men, trails only Martin Navratilova (10) for most in total. The Indian has won 17 Grand Slam titles, with eight coming in men's doubles and nine in mixed.