Doubles can double the effective career of a tennis player. It sure has for Max Mirnyi.
The 40-year-old partnering with Philipp Oswald defeated Leander Paes and Purav Raja, 6-3, 6-4, in the New York Open at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum on Wednesday.
With various partners through the years Mirnyi has won 50 ATP Tour level doubles titles, six of those Grand Slams. In 1998 he won the Wimbledon and U.S. Open title with Serena Williams.
“I look at doubles as the extension of my career by at least 10 years,” Mirnyi said. “My last full singles season was 2008. I’m still enjoying it. I look at it as an incredible job to be a doubles player. I still have a lot of passion. I enjoy the lifestyle, I enjoy the training and the traveling. Now that they are old enough my kids can come with me so they can realize was I am doing.”
The New York Open has brought him back to where he started in America. As a 13-year-old he came with his coach from Belarus and they settled in for a year in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He recalls playing a tournament at Port Washington Tennis Academy. He was only in Bensonhurst for a year, eventually moving to the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida. But he developed lasting friendships and a fondness for New York.
“Every time I come back I have a huge following because the kids I was playing tennis with when I was 13 now some are lawyers, some are coaches, many different professions, but we stay together every time there is a New York tournament,” Mirnyi said.
With him on this trip is 13-year-old daughter Melanie and they took in the Broadway Show “Anastasia” the other night. “Now that they are old enough I want them to understand what I am doing and how things work,” Mirnyi said. “For them to be part of what I do is an incredible feeling.”
As far as how long he’ll keep playing, the numbers are likely to tell him.
“Everything goes by the ranking, this is most objective measuring stick on the tour,” Mirnyi said. “If you can make the cut, if you can enter the tournaments, that means you are good enough. So far I’ve been able to make that cut. A very positive and enjoyable ride for me.”