London: He refused to pick a favourite among his 16 Grand Slams but veteran Indian tennis star Leander Paes said lifting the Wimbledon mixed doubles title with Swiss legend Martina Hingis does rank among the most special triumphs of his career.
Paes and Hingis, seeded sixth, drubbed the fifth seeded Austrian-Hungarian team of Alexander Peya and Timea Babos 6-1 6-1 in the lop-sided summit clash which was over in just 40 minutes yesterday.
“It’s not about which one is the best among all of them but coming out and playing like that in one of the most prestigious courts that we have grown up knowing and winning a title in a Grand Slam without losing a set, that’s very special,” Paes said in the post-match press conference.
It was Paes’ eighth mixed doubles title and second with Hingis after the Australian Open early this year. The 42-year-old Indian has eight men’s doubles crowns in his Grand Slam collection.
“To be able to play this game for so many years and play with two of the greatest female players (former partner Martina Navratilova and now Hingis), it is fantastic. They epitomise greatness, they are the greatest on this planet across any sport,” Paes said.
“We can talk of female athletes in other sports as well but to me in tennis, Martina Hingis and Martina Navratilova are right at the top. The champions that they are off the court is what I really respect,” he added.
For Hingis, it was her second title in as many days, having won the women’s doubles with Sania Mirza. Overall it was the 18th Major title for the Swiss and third in mixed doubles.
The Swiss was lavish in her praise for Leander.
“Leander is a great person, we practiced together and made each other better…With Leander, we played TeamTennis (in the United States) for the last two years. And Sania, I have been partnering since March. It’s been a great ride for me. I feel already like quarter India,” she laughed.