Leander Paes 11 wins away from rising to sixth place in most all-time doubles victories
New Delhi: Gunning for a record seventh appearance at the Olympics this year, one more milestone beckons veteran Indian tennis star Leander Paes which is a testament to his longevity on the professional circuit.
If the 42-year-old veteran manages to win 11 more matches on the ATP doubles tour this season, he will displace American Sherwood Stewart in the list of players with most number of doubles wins.
Stewart is sitting sixth in the table with 728 wins while Paes, a winner of 17 Grand Slam titles, has taken his number to 718 after reaching the third round of the ongoing French Open in Paris.
These staggering statistics do not include Paes' victories in the mixed doubles event and the ones on the ATP Challenger Tour.
Last year when Paes recorded his last win of the season, he overtook Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman (712), ending 2015 with 713 wins.
Paes though has hit a lean patch and has managed to win only five matches on the Tour this season, five months of which have almost gone.
To get crucial ranking points ahead of Rio Games, Paes chose to play on the Challenger circuit and won 10 matches in five tournaments. He won the title in Busan and ended runners-up in Leon with Sam Groth.
"I am looking forward to catching up to Sherwood Stewart's 728 doubles wins in my career and bettering the sixth place on the ATP World Tour of all-time wins," Paes said from Paris before taking the court for his mixed doubles second round with Swiss partner Martina Hingis.
"It's fun when all these stats come your way, setting new benchmarks."
Canada's 43-year-old Daniel Nestor tops the list with 1010 wins before his second round match of the French Open and is followed by Mike Bryan (994), Bob Bryan (980), Todd Woodbridge (782), Mark Knowles (744), Sherwood Stewart (728), Leander Paes (718) and Jonas Bjorkman (712).
Interestingly, when Nestor had become only fourth player in the history of the game and first in doubles to have won 1000 doubles career matches in company of Marcelo Melo, Paes was his opponent along with Jeremy Chardy.
Only three players have won 1000 or more matches in singles -- Jimmy Connors (1256), Ivan Lendl (1071) and Roger Federer (1070).
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World number 73 Alcaraz is the youngest man to reach a tour final since 2008 when Kei Nishikori made the Delray Beach championship match when he was also 18.