Chadwick's Top Moments: No. 16

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Chadwick_Bhupathi_USOPEN303.jpgFor moment No. 16 and our last moment in 1997, we recognize an individual accomplishment that not only impacted Ole Miss, but was felt all around the world.  A familiar name to the Ole Miss family, Mahesh Bhupathi took his game, his country, and his name to another planet in the tennis stratosphere.

In 1997, two years removed from the National Championship in doubles and leading the Rebels to the National Championship match, Bhupathi became the first player in Ole Miss tennis history to win a Grand Slam tournament.  Additionally, the 23 year-old Bhupathi also became the first Indian to ever win a Grand Slam title.  Bhupathi teamed with Japan native Rika Hiraki to win the French Open in mixed doubles.  Bhupathi and Hiraki defeated a pair of Americans, Patrick Galbraith and Lisa Raymond, 6-4, 6-1.

For those curious, Bhupathi and his French Open run was not what people like to call a "one hit wonder."  Bhupathi has since earned 12 total Grand Slam titles in doubles and mixed doubles.  He has won multiple titles at every Grand Slam tournament (Australian Open, French Open, U.S. Open, and Wimbledon).  Bhupathi's last Grand Slam win was in 2012 at the French Open.  He paired with Mumbai native Sania Mirza to beat Klaudia Jans-Ignacik and Santiago Gonzalez.

Bhupathi has earned over 6.5 million dollars in prize money, and at 39 years young, continues to be known as one of the best doubles players on the professional circuit, as evidenced by his prestigious awards and accomplishments.  In September of 2013, Bhupathi was ranked No. 10 in the world in doubles.  He has been ranked as high as No. 1 in April of 1999.  

On March 1, 2014, Bhupathi's professional tennis league, the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL), made a splash towards making a name for itself.  The world's No. 1, 2, 3 players signed up for participation in a league tournament.  This included Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.  Additionally, Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka also participated in the tournament.  This is a true testament to the respect that Mahesh has from all of the top players in the world to be able to draw such a star-studded lineup.

Arguably the greatest tennis player of all-time, Roger Federer is also very impressed with what he has witnessed from Bhupathi.  "I have high respect for him," said Federer.  "He's been around for such a long time.  He has always been very nice and intense on the court, but very laid back off.  "He is one of the best guys in the world of all-time."  It is safe to say that Mahesh has represented Ole Miss and India in an overwhelming way.

Monday, we will break into the top 15 moments in Ole Miss tennis history moving to 1999.  Stay tuned to see how Coach Billy Chadwick and the Rebels take the next step as a tennis program.

Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis.

Special assistance from Media Relations student Wesley Boock.

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