Leander Paes is an Indian tennis legend. He has won a total of 18 Grand slams in his career – 8 in men’s doubles and 10 in mixed doubles and is widely regarded as the greatest doubles player to grace the game. Here, we look at some his doubles partners along with whom he went on to register his best performances of his career:
Radek Stepanek was a tennis professional from Czech Republic. ‘Brothers from another mother’, Stepanek and Paes won two men’s doubles Grand Slam together. They partnered for the first time at the start of 2012 and went on to win the opening Grand Slam of the year – The Australian Open, beforegoing down in the finals of US Open in the same year. The pair regrouped shortly after and bagged the US Open in 2013. They also reached the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2014 before losing out to eventual champions Vasek Pospisil and Jack Sock.
Another player from the Czech Republic, Lukas Dlouhy teamed up with Leander Paes to win the French Open and the US Open men’s doubles event in the year 2009. The duo also ended as the second best in 2008 US Open and the 2010 French Open. Both of Dlouhy’s Grand Slam victories came when he partnered with Paes.
Martina Hingis was a tennis professional from Switzerland. The Paes-Hingis mixed doubles pair is probably the best ever in the history of the game. They teamed up for the first time in 2015 and went on a rampage winning all the four major Grand Slams. The Paes-Hingis pair was unstoppable for some time as they went on to register victories at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in the year 2015. They added the French Open in 2016 which helped Hingis become only the fourth woman in history to complete a Career Grand Slam in both singles and mixed doubles.
Zimbabwean Cara Black paired up with Paes in the mixed doubles for the first time in 2008. The pair went on to bag three mixed doubles Grand Slam titles together. The US Open title came in 2008, while the Australian Open and Wimbledon victories came in the year 2010. The Australian Open win alongside Black made Leander Paes only the second player in the history of tennis to win a Grand Slam title in three different decades.
Martina Navratilova was a Czechoslovak-born American tennis star. Martina and Paes partnered first time for the mixed doubles way back in 2002. Their best moment under the sun as a pair came in 2003 when they clinched the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Years later, Paes credited Navratilova for turning him into a fitness freak which helped him in extending his career while Navratilova termed him as her favouritemixed doubles partner.
Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes formed a fearsome men’s doubles pair early on in their career. They won three doubles title including the French Open and Wimbledon in 1999. In fact, Paes and Bhupathi were the first ever doubles pair to reach the finals of all the four Grand Slams in the open era. They soon spilt off due to personal reasons. They did join hands again to win the French Open for the second time as pair in 2001. Bhupathi and Paes did not play together after that till 2011 when they joined forces to reach the finals of Australian Open.