It was a big weekend for India at the All England Lawn Tennis Club, with the country’s tennis stars (both established and upcoming) winning three Wimbledon doubles titles at the sport’s iconic grass court tournament.
While Swiss maestro Roger Federer fell just short of becoming the oldest-ever Wimbledon singles champion — a month before his 34th birthday — in his four-set loss to Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, 42-year-old Indian veteran Leander Paes had little resistance strolling to his fifth Wimbledon doubles title alongside Federer’s compatriot Martina Hingis. The duo crushed Austria’s Alexander Peya and Hungary’s Timea Babos 6-1, 6-1 in just 40 minutes in Sunday’s mixed doubles final.
It was the second title in as many days for 1997 Wimbledon singles champion Hingis, who captured the women’s doubles crown with India’s world No. 1 Sania Mirza with a hard-earned victory against Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova. Mirza and Hingis overcame a 5-2 deficit in the third set against the Russian pair to win 5-7, 7-6, 7-5.
“Every kid that picks up a tennis racquet talks about winning Wimbledon or playing at Wimbledon one day, and I think I’m speaking for both of us: we feel privileged to be here,” said Mirza, who also has mixed-doubles titles at the Australian, French and U.S. Opens to her credit.
“Usually you’re lucky to win it once,” Hingis said. “It’s above my expectations.”
Their victory also resulted in some controversy on Indian social media, with British broadcaster BBC’s India edition leaving Mirza out of its tweet regarding the result. “Hingis wins Wimbledon doubles final,” the now-deleted tweet read, prompting angry reactions from several Indian netizens.
BBC India later issued a corrected tweet and apologized for excluding Mirza’s name.
While Paes and Hingis were steamrolling their way to the crown on Centre Court, 17-year-old Sumit Nagal was on one of the smaller courts giving the South Asian nation a cherry on its tennis cake. Nagal and his partner, Vietnam’s Nam Hoang Ly, defeated American-Japanese pair Reilly Opelka and Akira Santillan to win the boys’ doubles title.
“I never thought I would do anything like this ever,” Nagal said, in an interview with Indian news channel NDTV. “Coming from such a big country like India, it’s even more special.”