Like all sportsmen, India tennis ace Leander Paes hates to lose. That's why moments after winning the Heineken Open men's doubles title in Auckland on Saturday with his South African partner Raven Klaasen, he immediately recalled his recent defeat in the final of the Chennai Open.
Leander Paes celebrates after winning his doubles final yesterday
On January 10, Paes-Klaasen lost 3-6, 6-7 (4) in the Chennai final to Yen-Hsun Lu and Jonathan Marray. "I was very upset after losing in Chennai… I was in my seventh final there and previously I had never lost in a final there.
"That defeat really spurred us on. And getting into our second consecutive final and winning this one proves that things are heading in the right direction ahead of the year's first Grand Slam," Paes told mid-day after landing in Melbourne yesterday for Monday's Australian Open.
The win in Auckland handed Paes his 55th ATP title. Paes and Klaasen, seeded fourth in Auckland, beat the British-Romanian pairing of Dominic Inglot and Florin Mergea 7-6 (1), 6-4 at the USD 519,395 hard court tournament finale.
Paes credited his 99th Tour partner for a fine show. "Raven is a good student of the game, but most importantly he is an astute learner," said the 41-year-old former India Davis Cup captain currently in his 25th ATP season.
Paes is looking forward to a good outing in Melbourne Park next up. "The Australian Open is a very important tournament as it kickstarts the season. I've won here a few times before (men's doubles in 2010 and mixed doubles in 2003 & 2010), so I'm definitely looking forward to doing well again.
Interestingly, my partner Raven was in the men's doubles final here last year (Klaasen-Eric Butorac lost to Lukasz Kubot-Robert Lind Lindstedt 3-6, 3-6 in last year's Australian Open final), so that will keep us in good stead
here too. However, having said that, I'm sure most doubles teams will now be looking at our progress and keeping an eye out for us, so it won't be easy" Paes added.