His 11th Grand Slam title has only whetted Leander Paes' appetite for success and the Indian ace on Sunday said he remains a "student of tennis" who draws inspiration from Roger Federer and strives for perfection.
"21st Grand Slam final, 11th win. The beauty of continually putting the hard work day in and day out in the gym or on the track when you're not feeling great, these are the things you play for," Paes said after lifting the Australian Open mixed doubles title at Melbourne Park with Zimbabwean Cara Black.
Paes and Black beat Russian Ekaterina Makarova and Czech Jaroslav Levinsky 7-5 6-3 to lift their second title together. With this, Paes equalled one-time partner Mahesh Bhupathi's record for most Grand Slam titles by an Indian.
"I'm a student of life; I'm a student of tennis. It keeps teaching me about getting better. If Roger Federer can keep improving, I think all of us can still improve, as well," Paes said.
With this triumph, Paes also kept a promise he had made to Black.
Paes and Black had made back-to-back Grand Slam finals -- the US Open and the Wimbledon -- last season but lost both times and Black said the Indian had promised to win the Australian Open.
"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," Black said.