A student of the game, says Paes

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“21st Grand Slam final, 11th win. The beauty of continually putting the hard work day in and day out in the gym or on the track when you’re not feeling great, these are the things you play for,” Paes said after lifting the Australian Open mixed doubles title at Melbourne Park with Zimbabwean Cara Black.

“I’m a student of life, I’m a student of tennis. It keeps teaching me about getting better. If Roger Federer can keep improving, I think all of us can still improve, as well,” Paes said.

With this triumph, Paes also kept a promise he had made to Black. Paes and Black had made back-to-back Grand Slam finals — the US Open and the Wimbledon — last season but lost both times and Black said the Indian had promised to win the Australian Open.

Reflecting on Sunday’s win, Paes said he and Black were better in court coverage. “I think that just our expertise and the way we play doubles, the way we cover the right shots at the right time, and the fact we keep bringing it to our opponents.

“Even if they break us once, even if they break us twice, even if they break us three times, they’re going to have to play exceptional tennis through the whole match to win. I think that’s what won it for us in the semis really, which was a real tough match.

Asked what keeps him motivated at 36, Paes said family support has kept him going. “My partner, my daughter. A bit cliched. I think the lifestyle of a tennis player is really blessed. I think that when you look at the whole year of travel, you get to visit some amazing places, you get to make some great friendships. That’s what I’ve tried to do with the partners that I play with,” he said.

Paes's eleven
Doubles:
French Open (1999, 2001, 2009)
Wimbledon (1999)
US Open (2006, 2009)
Mixed doubles:
Australian Open (2003, 2010)
Wimbledon (1999, 2003)
US Open (2008).

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