Paris: It's for the first time that Mahesh Bhupathi has won two Grand Slam titles with the same partner - Sania Mirza. Before winning the French Open title, the Indian pair had won the Australian Open in 2009. Shortly after their Mixed Doubles title win at the Roland Garros, the champion duo from India spoke exclusively to NDTV. Here are some excerpts:
Q. Mahesh, the last time you won here at Roland Garros was very special, the first Indian winning a Grand Slam, and a first slam for you as well. What would you say is special about this one?
Mahesh: So many things...15 years later to be able to do it again, to do it with a really special friend of mine - Sania, for us to be representing India. There are so many different variables but all in all it's been a great day and we are just happy to win the title.
Q: Sania when you became the first Indian woman to win a Grand Slam, Mahesh was playing by your side. What is that makes the two of you click so well together and how are you feeling today?
Sania: There are many things. Number One, we complement each other's game. And I think it's really important because we're really good friends and we've know each other for a very long time. I think the chemistry is really good and in tight moments that does show a little, but when you know someone that well. And we've been playing for a long time, we have been playing for a few years. So hopefully we'll have a few more Grand Slams to win.
Q: Mahesh in your speech right after your victory you mentioned your daughter - you said she was watching...was she?
Mahesh: She was right in front of the TV. I hope she understood what was going on (laughs). Probably not, but am just happy that she was there watching.
Q: This is your first title after you became a father right?
Mahesh: Yes that's right (smiles). Special!
Q: You're going to be celebrating here in Paris. Tell us what you're going to be doing even if you don't tell us where?
Mahesh: It's already ten O' clock in the night, we still have our doping control to go through. Hopefully we'll go somewhere nice for dinner.
Sania: We actually have had no time to think about it so after this interview we'll think about it.
Q: In this match, in the beginning the first set was looking a bit iffy and you both looked quite tense. The second set was really smooth, how has this tournament been for you? Do you think you breezed through it or has it been harder than what it seemed to us?
Sania: It's always hard. I mean we're playing a Grand Slam. Everyone there's to win it and this is what we're playing it for… just to win the slams. Nothing's easy. We're just happy to come through. For the last two weeks we've played well together and it's a great way to finish a disappointing week. Last week when we lost the doubles earlier, so we're obviously delighted to win this and now hopefully we can keep up the form.
Q: This is the second Grand Slam title that the two of you have won together. Mahesh, have you had two wins with a single player before?
Mahesh: No, it's the first time. I was starting to worry about the fact that it might be a jinx, so it's broken now (laughs). Hopefully we'll get another one soon.
Q: Also as far as men's doubles and women's doubles are concerned you didn't have such a good run but now that you got this title are you less worried about that?
Sania: Look tennis is day to day. That's the beauty of the sport - there's always a tomorrow and this just proves so. Yes we were disappointed to lose on the women's and men's doubles but then we came back and that's what sports is all about. It's about coming back and performing the next day and so we obviously hung in there and we were mentally tough enough to come back the next day and win out mixed and be here two weeks later.
Q: All of India has been watching this match...There's been a lot of excitement building up to this match and you guys now have actually won this title. What is next in store what about the Olympics? What are looking forward to? Are you hoping to play together and what do we look forward to now from you?
Mahesh: Yes, for us the train hasn't really stopped. We're off on the grass courts season tomorrow. She's going to Birmingham; I am going to Queen's club. It's going to be a long grass courts season because the Olympics is on grass as well. We're playing well. We're looking forward to playing together and if we get that opportunity to play the Olympics, hopefully we'll be able to fire like we did this week and contend for a medal.
Sania: What he's said is exactly right. We don't have much time to celebrate, we've got to make the transition from clay to grass, and yes like I said, just keep the rhythm going and hopefully we can win a few more slams. And if we go to the Olympics and make it there - obviously try to win a medal there.
Q: Your father was there cheering you constantly...we saw you establish eye contact each time you scored a point, what about your better half (Shoaib Malik) ? Has he also been watching and cheering you from where ever he is?
Sania: Yeah, he's actually in India right now and I know that he was watching. And he sacrificed a Bollywood film to watch a match which is huge (laughs). So yes he was watching. I haven't spoken to him yet but on messages he's obviously very happy.
Q: Also what about your daughter, when is she actually going to start coming out to watch you matches? Is that going to happen any time soon?
Mahesh: I don't know. Obviously, when she is old enough to communicate and understand what's going on. So hopefully soon.
Q: Is she going to be at the Wimbledon perhaps?
Mahesh: Yes, she's coming.
Q: Before you go, anything you have to say about why Roland Garros is special for you?
Sania: Well last year I played here in the finals of the women's doubles and I came up one short, so I am just happy to win it. Especially happy to win it because it's my least favorite surface so it shows that I've come a long way obviously on the surface and it's becoming my favorite (laughs).
Q. Also what about Mahesh being one of the world's best doubles players - that's what you said on the court?
Sania: Yes there's no doubt about that. He's one of the best players ever and I am fortunate enough to be his partner and to win slams with him.
Q: Mahesh one word about Sania...You are going to be playing many games together now?
Mahesh: We're just going to go and celebrate now that's it. We're not discussing playing the next game (Laughs).