There was triple joy for India at Wimbledon over the weekend, with Sania Mirza, Leander Paes and Sunil Nagal all winning titles.
Paes and Martina Hingis took the mixed doubles crown with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Alexander Peya and Timea Babos in 40 minutes on Sunday (12).
The Indian-Swiss pairing had also won the Australian Open mixed doubles in January.
It was 42-year-old Paes’s eighth Grand Slam mixed title and a third for Swiss legend Hingis.
“With Leander, we played TeamTennis (in the United States) for the last two years. Since then it’s been a great ride for me. I feel already like quarter India,” said Hingis, whose last Wimbledon title before this weekend was back in 1998 in the women’s doubles.
“Been to India four times. I’m meeting the prime minister and everything,” the 34-year-old added. “It was incredible today, the chemistry between myself and Leander.”
For Paes, who played his first Wimbledon in 1993, it was a 16th Grand Slam doubles title.
“Australia was something brand-new, something fresh, because it was the first time we were playing in a Grand Slam together,” he said.
“We played World TeamTennis for a couple years and we’re undefeated there. But to come and do it at Wimbledon is something really special.
“Everyone knows what Martina’s achieved over the years at Wimbledon. To come out there and do it back-to-back, the physical and mental effort that it takes to win two titles in the same week, is something really, really special,” Paes added.
It was the second Wimbledon title in two days for Hingis after she had won the women’s doubles with Mirza on Saturday.
Hingis and 28-year-old India star Mirza came from a set down and 2-5 behind in the final set to beat Russian duo Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 5-7, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5.
The final was halted at 5-5 in the deciding set due to fading light and to allow the Centre Court roof to be closed. When the players returned, Hingis and Mirza raced through the next two games to take the title.
It was the top seeds’ first Grand Slam title as a team, having only decided to play together in March this year.
For Mirza, it was a maiden women’s doubles title at a Grand Slam although she has won three mixed doubles at the majors.
“To come out here at Wimbledon, this is something we dream of as kids,” said Mirza.
“Every kid that picks up a tennis racquet this is about winning Wimbledon or playing at Wimbledon one day.
“When we came out at 5-5 we had goosebumps. The energy on the court, we were getting a standing ovation, it was unbelievable. We both came out and I said, ‘This is what we play for, this is what we work for, this energy’.”
Mirza praised the support she and Hingis received throughout the tournament and hoped her win will have a positive impact back home in cricket-mad India.
“I hope it inspires a lot of girls and makes them believe they can be Grand Slam champions too,” she said.
“I think for me as an Indian, I’m in Little India here. There are so many Indians in England. Thankfully there are a lot of us everywhere. In England especially I’ve always had amazing support.”
Hingis won the Wimbledon doubles with Helena Sukova in 1996 and Jana Novotna in 1998.
“It’s been another lifetime. Seventeen years, usually you’re lucky to win it once or happy to be out here and play on the Wimbledon grounds. It’s above my expectations,” said Hingis who was also the singles champion at Wimbledon in 1997.
“I have a great partner to pull me through. It takes guts and courage being 5-2 down in the third set. Couldn’t have asked for more drama how to win it.”
Also on Sunday, 17-year-old Sumit Nagal entered the history books as only sixth Indian to win a Grand Slam junior title after winning the boys doubles trophy at the Wimbledon championships with Vietnamese partner Nam Hoang Ly.
The eight seeds overcame fourth seeds Reilly Opelka and Akira Santillan 7-6(4), 6-4 in the title clash that lasted 63 minutes.
Yuki Bhambri was the last Indian to taste success at the top level in junior tennis when he won the Australian Open boys singles title in 2009.
Ramanathan Krishnan (Wimbledon, 1954), Ramesh Krishnan (French Open and Wimbledon, 1979) and Leander Paes (Wimbledon 1990, US Open 1991) are the other junior Grand Slam singles champions from India.
Mirza had won the Wimbledon girls doubles title in 2003 with Russian partner Alisa Kleybanova.