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10 December 2023

Paes keeps promise to Black with mixed doubles title

India's Leander Paes and Cara Black of Zimbabwe celebrate winning a point against Jaroslav Levinsky of the Czech Republic and Russia's Ekaterina Makarova in the mixed doubles final at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne. (REUTERS)

India's Leander Paes kept his promise to Zimbabwean partner Cara Black when they won the Australian Open mixed doubles title on Sunday.

The pair overcame some first set jitters to beat Russia's Ekaterina Makarova and Czech Jaroslav Levinsky 7-5, 6-3 for their second Grand Slam mixed doubles title, after their success at the 2008 US Open.

Black, who with Liezel Huber lost the women's doubles final here to the Williams sisters, said Paes promised her last year they would win in Melbourne.

"We said it since we started playing together, you know, we've had such great success," she said.

"We talked about it last year. He promised. He made a promise to me we were going to get this one. He's good at getting keeping his promises."

For Paes, it was his sixth Grand Slam mixed doubles victory and second here, to go with six men's doubles titles.

At the age of 36, he said he was still enjoying life on tour and hoped to continue to team up with Black in the future.

"I think the lifestyle of a tennis player is really blessed," he said.

"I think that when you look at the whole year of travel, you get to visit some amazing places, you get to make some great friendships. 

"That's what I've tried to do with the partners that I play with. Winning Grand Slams is obviously fantastic in a partnership.

"What I really respect about Cara is that, in particular, she is a very sensitive human being. 

"She's got intelligence, she's got hard work and I know for sure every time I step on the court with her she's going to put everything out there."

It was Black's fourth Grand Slam mixed title, to go with five women's doubles championships.