With the controversies at Rio Olympics behind him, Leander Paes was looking for a fresh start at the US Open, but he and his German partner Andre Begemann lost a close first round encounter against French-Israeli pair of Stephane Robert and Dudi Sela in just under two hours by 6-2 5-7 4-6 margin.
But after the loss, Paes took the time to put his career in perspective in an interaction with the journalists at Flushing Meadows.
The 43-year-old who has won an amazing 18 grand slam titles, said it was time for him to ‘have some fun.’
“What else do I have to prove? I’ve won 18 grand slams. It’s all fun now,” Paes said.
“You win once, you win 10 times, that’s great. When things are going good everyone looks great. Put your hair in place, you look great. When things are not good, that’s when a true gentleman’s quality shows up. Resilience, the ability to get through days like this, to get through hardships. To not get too down when you lose, to not get too up when you win. Resilience to keep getting better. resilience where your passion burns so hard, that you want to keep reinventing yourself to get better.”
Paes and Begemann started their encounter in a resounding manner with two service breaks in the first and fifth game, grabbing the first set at 6-2.
Enjoying a service break in the second set as well, the Indo-German pair looked like serving out at 5-4 before Sela and Roberts got a break back in the 10th game while getting another break in the 12th game to win the set 7-5.
Bopanna loses, Sania Mirza advances
Meanwhile, Rohan Bopanna, who is partnering Frederik Nielsen of Denmarkwere blown away by American Brian Baker and Kiwi Marcus Daniell 2-6 6-7 (5-7).
However there was some cheer for the Indian fans as Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig, who have won the US Open mixed doubles title in 2014 made a fluent start to their campaign with a 6-4 6-4 straight set win over US pair of Donald Young and Taylor Townsend in just 62 minutes.
Bopanna also played his mixed doubles first round match later in the evening alongside Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski beating US pair of Noah Rubin and Jamie Loeb 7-5 6-4 in only 67 minutes.
In the junior girls’ event, India’s Pranjala Yadlapalli beat American Victoria Emma 6-3 6-2.
Bopanna, who hasn’t had a great run in the Grand Slams of late as the Indo-Danish pair were broken twice before they conceded the first set 6-2.
It was turning out to be a cakewalk for the Kiwi-US pair as they were ready to serve for the match at 5-3 before Bopanna-Nielsen broke back to make it 5-5 raising visions of a fightback.
With the help of a mini-break, the Indo-Danish pair werw up 3-0 in the tie-breaker only to commit lot of unforced errors before losing the match. The duration was 74 minutes.
With PTI inputs