Indian tennis ace promises more glory after recording his 700th doubles win yesterday
Paris: At 4-3 up in the third set, Leander Paes could see the champagne trolley being rolled out near the courts in his honour. No cake this time. He was on the verge of completing 700 match win in men's doubles. Twice, already this year he had fallen short of the milestone by an inch.
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Leander Paes. Pic/AFP
"It happened in Madrid and again in Rome," said Paes. "The ATP said, 700 match wins so we will celebrate it with a cake."
He ended up losing in the second round of both the tournaments, having been given a bye in the first.
"So I told them, 'Please, no cake this time'." But there was no third time unlucky for Paes though. He brought up his 700th victory in the company of Daniel Nestor, as the 10th seeds overcame the Aussie duo of Chris Guccione and James Duckworth 6-2, 5-7, 7-5 in a hard-fought battle in the first round of the French Open yesterday.
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"It's a special number," said Paes (41) who became the eighth player in doubles history to reach the 700-mark. "I normally look at these milestones as motivation to keep going, to keep pushing further and further. I'll try and get to 800 now."
It's been a mixed season for Paes so far. Though he started the year with South Africa's Raven Klassen, he has been playing on clay, starting with Monte Carlo Open, with Canadian veteran Nestor and the duo had been unable to get off the mark till the opening round victory at Roland Garros.
"It's been a tough run," said Paes. "We have won so many Grand Slams, he's won 12, I've won 15. When we step on court, we don't get an easy match. Every single player knows what we have accomplished, so they come to that match ready, and they come there wanting to play their best. That being said, we know that every day we have to work hard.
"Today also, we won the first set comfortably, and straight away in the second set these guys started going for everything." But Paes has had people gunning for him all his career. He has stood strong and brave at the net, not budging an inch. In his 25th year on the Pro tour, he keeps on winning them and raising the bar.
Australian Open: Winner (2012)
French Open: Winner (1999, 2001, 2009)
Wimbledon: Winner (1999)
US Open: Winner (2006, 2009, 2013)