India's Unsung Hero Mahesh Bhupathi
When it comes to commitment while playing for India, not many can match Leander Paes. Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander's Paes partner played with as much distinction for India. While Leander Paes got his due, Mahesh Bhupathi never got the attention, publicity or fame he deserved. This is probably due to the fact that Mahesh Bhupathi is more of an introvert unlike Leander Paes who is an extrovert. Mahesh Bhupathi holds many records for India which many of us are not aware of or have forgotten.
Mahesh Bhupathi is the first ever Indian to win a Grand Slam at senior level competitions for India. Mahesh Bhupathi won the first ever mixed Grand Slam by an Indian , first ever doubles Grand Slam by an Indian. Mahesh Bhupathi is the first and only Indian to win a career Grand Slam in mixed doubles.
1997 French Open Mixed Doubles Champion:- When Mahesh Bhupathi partnered Rika Hiraki and won the French Mixed Doubles Champions he became the first Indian ever to win a Grand Slam at senior level. Indians had won singles competitions at junior Grand slams but they have found the transition from junior to senior level tough and could never make it big at the senior level.
1999 French Open Men Doubles Champion:- When Mahesh Bhupathi partnered long time friend and rival Leander Paes to win the French Open, he became the first ever Indian to win a Grand Slam in Mens Doubles. That was also the first time when an all Indian pair won a doubles at Grand Slams.
1999 doubles world record with Leander Paes:- In 1999 Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes became the only pair in the history of mens doubles to reach the finals of all four Grand Slam events. The pair were ranked No.1 on 26th April 2009. Mahesh Bhupathi was also ranked No.1 in individual ranking of doubles teams as well. The pair consistently made semi finals and finals of Grand Slam tournaments. They established such a big reputation that they came be known as "Indian Express". The pair brought a flair and passion to doubles events which was lacking prior to their entry on the international scene.
2006 Australian Open Mixed Doubles Champion:- Mahesh Bhupathi won the Australian Open mixed doubles championship partnering Martina Hignis. When the pair of Bhupathi and Hignis won the even, Mahesh Bhupathi became the first and only Indian to win a Career Grand Slam in Mixed Doubles. Only 8 players ever in the history of Mixed Doubles have the distinction of completing a career grand slam in mixed doubles. Australian Open is the only Grand Slam which has eluded Mahesh Bhupathi in men's doubles. If he wins the Australian Open, Mahesh Bhupathi would have been the holder of a rare record of a career grand slam in both Mixed Doubles and Mens Doubles. For the record though Mahesh Bhupathi has never won the Australian open in men's doubles he has managed to make the finals on more than one occassion.
2009 Australian Open:- Mahesh Bhupathi partnered Sania Mirza to win the mixed doubles championship at Australian Open. This was the first ever time an all Indian pair won a Grand Slam in mixed doubles.
Grand Slam Record:- Mahesh Bhupathi has made the finals in 19 Grand Slams, winning 11 each of them which is an Indian Record. Mahesh Bhupathi also holds the record of winning mixed doubles Grand slams with different partners which goes on to show that it is his contribution which matters most in contributing to a win.
Davis Cup:- Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi have one of the best records as a pair in Davis Cup. Their record is one of the best in the history of Davis Cup of all time. Whenever India plays a Davis Cup the Indian team and their opponent plan strategies for singles and reverse singles ties only, as the doubles tie is treated as a foregone conclusion of an Indian win.
In today world when print and electronic media hype every performance especially that of crickters, Mahesh Bhupathi has never been given his due. Mahesh Bhupathi performances make him a legend in his lifetime and an all time legend in the history of Indian Sports.
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