LONDON: India’s Leander Paes says chemistry is the most important factor when choosing a doubles partner and he should know, having now experimented with 100 different players.
Teaming up with Spain’s Marcel Granollers at the Nottingham grasscourt tournament this week meant veteran Paes, a doubles specialist, reached the century milestone in men’s doubles.
Some might raise their eyebrows and suggest Paes just struggles to commit, but constant hopping about between different partners is actually not that unusual.
He is the 47th player to notch up 100 different partners but few can boast his success rate. Eight Grand Slam men’s doubles titles and seven mixed doubles crowns have earned him a tidy fortune and the 42-year-old is still going strong, reaching the Nottingham quarter-finals as he warms up for Wimbledon.
“It means I’ve had a very long career,” Paes, who reached 700 match wins recently at the French Open, read his statement on ATPWorldTour.com. “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.”
Paes has completed the career Grand Slam in doubles and won the first two of his eight men’s doubles majors (the French Open and Wimbledon in 1999) with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi. He also played with Bhupathi to win the 2001 French Open but has since found Czech mates in the form of Martin Damm, Lukas Dlouhy and Radek Stepanek to win his other men’s doubles majors.
“I like to choose someone whose skill set is my weaknesses and my skill set is their weaknesses,” said Paes, who had Martina Hingis by his side to win this year’s Australian Open mixed title.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2015.
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