Nottingham: India's tennis hero Leander Paes has added yet another milestone to his terrific career, which is full of achievements, as the veteran pro has now played with 100 different partners on the ATP circuit.
When Paes took court with Marcel Granollers at the Aegon Open in Nottingham, yesterday, the Spaniard was his 100th partner. They reached the quarterfinals after eking out a 3-6 6-2 11-9 win over Treat Huey and Scott Lipsky.
Paes has been most successful with estranged partner Mahesh Bhuapthi with whom he won three of his eight men's doubles Grand Slam titles. He won two each with Radek Stepanek and Lukas Dlouhy and one with Martin Damm, all of whom incidentally are from Czech Republic.
Leander Paes. Pic/ AFP
Paes is the 47th player to reach a century of doubles partners. Of these 100 partners, 71 played with him on the Tour level while 29 at the Challenger level.
"It means I've had a very long career. It's quite intriguing in an individual sport like tennis to have actually had that many doubles partners. I always try to learn new tricks and keep reinventing myself. Having new partners, I try to incorporate these in our practice sessions. Perhaps they want to learn from my volleys or movement at net or I want to learn from their baseline game or their return game. It's been a very blessed journey to go through 25 years and 100 partners," Paes said.
Paes also became just the eighth player to notch 700 match wins with victory in the Roland Garros first round last month but the first member of the club to have amassed more than 50 titles and 700 match victories.
"I put a lot of homework into choosing a partner, because I like to choose someone whose skill set is my weaknesses and my skill set is their weaknesses. Whether it was a Martin Damm, who has a big serve and an excellent backhand return or a Radek Stepanek who has an all-court game.