Tennis had for long been considered a sport for the elite, till the likes of Ramanathan Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan and Vijay Amritraj took to the courts, and made its presence felt in India. The trio received comparitive success in their hey-days with Ramanathan Krishnan even achieveing a career high singles ranking of no. 6 in the world. Amritraj in 1984, defeated John McEnroe when he was playing at the peak of his career and managed to reach a career high rank of no. 16 in the world.These 3 great players constantly defeated top singles players, but a Grand Slam success always eluded them and soon questions were asked as to whether India , a country more in the news for its cricket heroics, is capable of producing a tennis champion – a player who will do the nation proud in Grand Slam events.Mahesh Bhupathi along with Leander Paes combined to change all mindsets in the 1990’s. Sania Mirza in recent years, has become a force to reckon with in the doubles arena and the three, by emerging triumphant in various Grand Slams, have managed to put all doubts to rest.Here’s a look at all the Grand Slam victories accorded by them over the years.
#1 Leander Paes
Leander Paes the most successful Indian on the circuit, has 14 Grand Slam titles to his name- 8 in the Mens Doubles category and 6 in the Mixed Doubles. The Kolkatan who began his career as a singles player became the first tennis player from the country in 4 decades to bag an Olympic medal, when he bagged the bronze in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Soon after, he shifted his focus to doubles and his patnership with fellow Indian Mahesh Bhupathi proved to be an envious combination. In 1998, the duo reached the semi finals of 3 Slams and it was just a matter of time before they achieved success. The next year, the pair reached the finals of all 4 Grand Slams, and became only the 1st Indian doubles pair to win the French Open. Paes did a double whammy at Wimbledon the same year, winning both the Mixed Doubles (patnering Lisa Raymond) and the mens doubles with Bhupathi.
The Indian Express later won the French Open in 2001.
In 2003, before being diagnosed with a suspected brain tumour, the 41 year old partnered tennis great Martina Navratilova to win the mixed doubles event at the Australia Open and then went on to win Wimbledon with her in the same year.
He had to wait 3 years for his next success, when he along with Martin Damm won the 2006 US Open.
Paes continued with his performances and in 2012, he achieved the feat of a Career Grand Slam (winner of all 4 slams) in men’s doubles by winning the Australian Open with Radek Stepanek.
His mixed doubles feats with Cara Black deserve mention- he patnered her in 2008 and over the next 2 years, won 3 Slams. By winning at the hallowed Wimbledon in 2010, he became only the first player after tennis legend Rod Laver to win at London in three different decades.
The player who has earned respect from the world in his career spanning 24 years, is currently in search of a Career Slam in Mixed Doubles, with only a victory at the clay courts of Paris missing.
|1999||FRENCH OPEN||MAHESH BHUPATHI|
|2001||FRENCH OPEN||MAHESH BHUPATHI|
|2006||US OPEN||MARTIN DAMM|
|2009||FRENCH OPEN||LUKAS DLOUHY|
|2009||US OPEN||LUKAS DLOUHY|
|2012||AUSTRALIAN OPEN||RADEK STEPANEK|
|2003||AUSTRALIAN OPEN||MARTINA NAVRATILOVA|
|2008||US OPEN||CARA BLACK|
|2010||AUSTRALIAN OPEN||CARA BLACK|
#2 Mahesh Bhupathi
The 2nd most successful tennis player from India, Mahesh Bhupathi has 12 Majors to boast of and he is also the first Indian to bring home a Grand Slam, when he won the French Open Mixed Doubles Event in 1997 with Rika Hiraki.
Bhupathi has had more success in the mixed doules- winning 8 of his 12 Slams in the event. 3 of his 4 Men’s Doubles wins have been with Paes, while the 4th one (a win at the Arthur Ashe stadium) was way back in 2002 with Max Mirnyi. However, over the years, Bhupathi has emerged runners up on 6 occasions in the doubles competion.
He was won 8 mixed doubles titles with 7 different partners over the years- combining with fellow Indian Sania Mirza twice to win the Australain Open in 2009 (also Mirza’s first Grand Slam victory) and the French Open in 2012.
The Bangalorean partnered Martina Hingis in 2006 to claim the Australain Open, thereby completeing his Career Gland Slam in Mixed Doubles.
|1999||FRENCH OPEN||LEANDER PAES|
|2001||FRENCH OPEN||LEANDER PAES|
|2002||US OPEN||MAX MIRNYI|
|1997||FRENCH OPEN||RIKA HIRAKI|
|1999||US OPEN||AI SUGIYAMA|
|2005||US OPEN||DANIELA HANTUCHOVA|
|2006||AUSTRALIAN OPEN||MARTINA HINGIS|
|2009||AUSTRALIAN OPEN||SANIA MIRZA|
|2012||FRENCH OPEN||SANIA MIRZA|
#3 Sania Mirza
The lone Indian woman tennis player to make a name on the world stage reached a career high ranking of no. 27 in the world in 2007 and has singles wins over Svetlana Kuznetsova, Martina Hingis, Marion Bartoli, Victoria Azarenka amongst others to her name.
However a series of wrist injuries cut short her singles career as she shifted focus on the doubles arena, where she managed to achieve 3 Mixed Doubles Grand Slams.
The 27 year old won her first Grand Slam in 2009, partnering Bhupathi in Melbourne. Her partnership with Bhupathi worked wonders again in 2012 at Roland Garros as the pair celebrated their second Grand Slam win together. The most recent addition to her tally came in the just concluded US Open, where she partnered Brazilian Bruno Soares to emerge victorious.
|2009||AUSTRALIAN OPEN||MAHESH BHUPATHI|
|2012||FRENCH OPEN||MAHESH BHUPATHI|
|2014||US OPEN||BRUNO SOARES|
#4 The Junior Grand Slam Winners
Besides the above mentioned players who have managed to achieve success in doubles, a number of junior tennis players from the country have managed to win the Boys Singles Junior Grand Slam Tournaments, with Ramanathan Krishnan winning the first Junior event when he bagged the Wimbledon Junior Championships in 1954.
No girl has managed to win the Junior Grand Slam for the country.
|1979||FRENCH OPEN||RAMESH KRISHNAN|
|1991||US OPEN||LEANDER PAES|
|2009||AUSTRALIAN OPEN||YUKI BHAMBRI|