Mahesh Bhupathi is a retired Indian tennis player who achieved great success in both men's doubles and mixed doubles.
Bhupathi was the first ever Indian to win a Grand Slam - he and Japanese player Rika Hiraki clinched the 1997 French Open together. Bhupathi also forged a legendary doubles partnership with Leander Paes; the duo won multiple Grand Slams together, including the 1999 Wimbledon championship.
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams - singles:
Australian Open: Qualifying 2nd Round (1998)
French Open: Qualifying 3rd Round (1996, 1999)
Wimbledon: 1st Round (1997, 1998, 2000)
US Open: 1st Round (1995)
Highest Ranking: No. 217
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams - doubles:
Australian Open: Runner-up (1999, 2009, 2011)
French Open: Champion (1999, 2001)
Wimbledon: Champion (1999)
US Open: Champion (2002)
Highest Ranking: No. 1
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams - mixeddoubles:
Australian Open: Champion (2006, 2009)
French Open: Champion (1997, 2012)
Wimbledon: Champion (2002, 2005)
US Open: Champion (1999, 2005)
Style of play, strengths and weaknesses
Bhupathi was an aggressive player who liked to attack the net the first opportunity he got. While he could hit solid groundstrokes from the back of the court, his preferred positioning was in the forecourt, where he could put away volleys with ease.
Bhupathi's offense-based style of play was particularly suited to doubles, where he achieved a majority of his success. He could hit drop volleys, angled volleys and overhead smashes with equal confidence, and was an imposing presence at the net.
The Indian had a strong serve, which he used to set up many of his attacking forays. His two-handed backhand was also considered a weapon, as it was solid in both attack and defense.
Bhupathi was not the quickest mover at the back of the court, which hampered his defense at times. He could also struggle to generate enough firepower with his forehand to hit through the court.
Bhupathi was born in Chennai, India, but spent a significant amount of his educational career in the USA. He studied at the University of Mississippi, and reached the doubles No. 1 ranking in college tennis in the year 1995.
Bhupathi married Shvetha Jaishankar in 2002, but their union lasted just for seven years. In 2011, Bhupathi married Bollywood actress Lara Dutta, and the two have a daughter named Saira (born in 2012).
Bhupathi won 3 of his 4 men's doubles Grand Slams with Leander Paes, turning their partnership into a historic one for India. Although he later had several public disagreements with Paes, even getting involved in lengthy verbal brawls over Olympics berths, the Bhupahi-Paes partnership will always be remembered for its path-breaking success.
Bhupathi had a very fruitful mixed doubles partnership with another Indian player - Sania Mirza. The duo won two Grand Slams together - the 2009 Australian Open and the 2012 French Open, the latter of which was the last Major won by Bhupathi in his career.
He also combined well with Rohan Bopanna, and although they didn't win a Grand Slam together, they won a few big titles and regularly challenged the top doubles teams.
Bhupathi has founded several off-court business ventures, including Globosport India Private Limited and ZEVEN. He was also the brainchild behind the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), a multi-nation tennis tournament which saw the participation of legends like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras and Serena Williams.