Melbourne: Indian tennis star Leander Paes clinched his 15th Grand Slam title as he and Swiss ace Martina Hingis won the Australian Open mixed-doubles title, here Sunday.
The seventh seed Indo-Swiss pair turned back the clock to serve past third seeds Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3 in the 1 hour and 2 minutes battle at the Rod Laver Arena.
While the 41-year-old Paes clinched his seventh mixed doubles crown, Hingis, who came out of retirement for the second time a couple of years back, collected her 11th doubles Slam apart from her five singles titles.
Paes and Hingis broke the Canadian-French pair of Nestor and Kristina once in the first set and twice in the second to put up an entertaining display.Paes, a veteran doubles specialist, joined forces with the 34-year-old Hingis last year only to come up with a Slam title in quick time.
Hingis, who burst into the scene in 1995, thanked her idol and legend Martina Navratilova for suggesting Paes as her mixed-doubles partner.“I am thankful to Martina (Navratilova) for getting me partner Paes. Not even in my wildest dreams would I have believed that 20 years later I’d be standing here again,” said an excited Hingis – winner of three singles Australian Open titles in 1997, 98 and 99.
Navratilovia, who also partnered Paes to clinch the Australian Open and Wimbledon mixed-doubles crown in 2003, was in the stands to watch the tennis veterans play.