New York: All praise for partner Martina Hingis after clinching the US Open mixed doubles title, veteran Indian tennis star Leander Paes said he neither has the technique nor the caliber to match the Swiss legend but he tries to make up for it with his perseverance.
Paes combined with Hingis to win a record ninth Mixed Doubles Grand Slam title after beating the American combo of Sam Querrey and Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4 3-6 10-7 in the US Open final.
Soon after he won his historic US Open title, Paes said more than the technique it is his never-say-die spirit that has got him success.
"Martina said something that was quite interesting. She said you have to have the guts to go after something, and I don't believe that I personally have the technique or the caliber of talent that Martina has," Paes said.
"One thing I do have is the guts. I will go for it. It's been part of my whole life is about perseverance, just trying to find a way to succeed," he added after a win, which made him the most successful male tennis player in the mixed doubles format.
He has now won nine mixed doubles major titles and trails only former partner Martina Navratilova (10).
Paes said chemistry is key to any partnership and he enjoys a great relation with Hingis.
"Sometimes the chips are against you, sometimes they fool you. What I love about this teamwork is that in any partnership there's got to be one person who brings the energy to the team. There's got to be one person who takes all the pressure on their shoulder and drives the team forward," Paes said.
"I know if I can keep Martina happy, if I can keep her relaxed, the tennis I don't even have to worry about. This young girl is phenomenal on the tennis court and off of it," he said.
Paes also said that they train hard before the matches but at the same time training has never been a stress for them.
"We actually have our best times when we are on the practice court. Like yesterday, we were there yesterday. We were on the practice court before the Australian Open. We were on for like two hours practicingI have guts to go after my goals: Paes for a final. Just having fun.
I learn a lot from her."
It was the third mixed doubles crown of the year for Paes and Hingis, who defeated Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic in the Australian Open final and beat Alexander Peya and Timea Babos in the Wimbledon title match.
They are the first team since 1969 and second in the Open Era to capture three of the four majors in a calendar year.
When asked about his next target, Paes said he was looking forward the Davis Cup tie against Czech Republic in Delhi next week before talking about what would be his seventh Olympics in Rio next year.
"Firstly, I am looking forward to Davis Cup next week. We will try out best to win and make the World Group. Then there is Rio Olympics next year. It would be special to have my father with me at my seventh Olympic appearance. Both Rohan (Bopanna) and Sania (Mirza) are doing well in doubles. I hope we can put up a good show for India," said Paes, who won the singles bronze at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.