Paes wins, hugs Navratilova

Leander Paes’ triumph at the French Open was cause for great celebration, especially for me and others members of the Association of Rabid Fans of Doubles Tennis. We threw a party last night and really had a good time, all three of us.

Paes and his partner, Lukas Dlouhy of the Czech Republic, won the men’s doubles title, beating Wesley Moodie of South Africa and Belgium’s Dick Norman 3-6, 6-3, 6-2. (Ignore the first set. Paes was preoccupied, exchanging glances with Martina Navratilova.)

Paes now has nine Grand Slam doubles titles (five men’s and four mixed), just two behind his former partner Mahesh Bhupathi (four men’s, seven mixed). Bhupathi  has won titles with seven different women, including most recently Sania Mirza at the Australian Open. He’s truly amazing. It doesn’t matter whom you pair him with – Mary Pierce, Martina Hingis, Venus Flytrap — he’ll probably win a title.

Paes and Bhupathi won three Grand Slam titles together, the last in 2001, before having some sort of falling out, much to the chagrin of Indian tennis fans. They did get back together for last year’s Olympics, somewhat reluctantly, and lost in the quarters to Stanislas Wawrinka and some guy named Roger.

Paes would love nothing more, I’m sure, than to finish his career with more Grand Slam titles than Bhupathi. And with his former partner Navratilova cheering him on, anything is possible.

“Martina has been a soulmate for many years. We’ve been through a lot in life, especially me in the last eight years. She’s been along with me, supporting me, guiding me at times,” said Paes.

“When I was diagnosed with cancer and I couldn’t play, she basically stayed away from the game and didn’t play mixed doubles until I came back.”

“Whenever I look at a person like Navratilova, she gives me a lot of inspiration. It was strange that just at the end of the second set when we were getting a bit nervous and a bit edgy, she came out there and was just making eye contact.

“Lukas served three doubles faults early in the third set. I told him at one point, Martina is out there. Come on. Have a look at her. She’s inspiring us.” [Link]

Here’s a pic of Paes hugging Navratilova after his victory, with a familiar face applauding. Caption anyone?

Paes.jpg

25 thoughts on “Paes wins, hugs Navratilova

  1. Martina: “hey, act like you’re my boyfriend. this creepy guy won’t stop following me.”

  2. I am a huge fan of Paes. But, he should just play tennis and not open his mouth and make statements like “Martina is a soulmate”. He is married to some one with a child right? hmmmmmmm, I wonder what she is thinking? Great Tennis player, below average conversational skills and also too much melodrama after a win! Chill dude…act your age. But otherwise as I said , great tennis player and has been exciting to watch for the last 20 years. More power to you, Leander! Tennis that is!

  3. Martina: “whew, glad you’re here. this asshole behind me keeps saying; “i got one yay big”

  4. Leander: “Thanks for everything, Martina. But where’d you get the money to pay of the ump?”

  5. Leander: “Martina, you may have indeed convinced him to drop ‘don’t ask don’t tell’, but that’s not the Secretary of Defense.”

  6. Martina: “Bill was asking me if your .net skills are as good as your net skills.”

  7. Bill: “That desi dude can sure serve an ace, but can he hack an acer server?”

  8. He is married to some one with a child right?

    Methinks you need to chill. Why should his wife be troubled by his looking up to Martina as a friend and mentor?

  9. Paes and Bhupathi have been around for a while, and Paes’ longevity is commendable, even if that is more common for doubles specialists. His doubles and Davis Cup achievements have carried him through the disappointment of having achieved little as a singles player.

  10. federer’s got a similar relationship going with anna wintour. must be something in the gatorade

  11. Paes and Bhupathi have been around for a while, and Paes’ longevity is commendable, even if that is more common for doubles specialists. His doubles and Davis Cup achievements have carried him through the disappointment of having achieved little as a singles player.

    I certainly expected him to do better in singles after he won the Wimbledon junior boys title, as did a certain Roger Federer. Ramesh Krishnan and his dad, Ramanathan, also won the junior title and fared much better than Paes in men’s singles.

    Well, there are at least two young players from India with lots of potential: Somdev Devarrman and Yuki Bhambri.