MELBOURNE, Australia -- Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek denied Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan their record 12th Grand Slam doubles title, beating the American twins 7-6 (1), 6-2 in the final of the Australian Open on Saturday.
The 33-year-old Bryans were attempting to secure their place as the most decorated doubles team since the Open Era began in 1968. The Bryan brothers remain tied with the Australian duo of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge with 11 major titles.
Paes and Stepanek are veteran doubles players but were teaming up for just the fourth time. Before partnering for a tuneup event at Sydney earlier this month, the Indian and Czech duo hadn't played together for nearly six years.
The Bryans have captured each major at least once, but they've been most dominant at Melbourne Park, where they've won four straight Australian titles and six overall. They hadn't lost here since the quarterfinals in 2008.
Stepanek said after Saturday's match that they were supposed to play together in 2005, but he called it off so he could focus on his singles game.
"I had to pick up the phone and tell Lee honestly that, you know, my whole career, whole life I worked on my singles, and I wanted to, you know, give myself a shot," he said.
When asked whether Paes was angry, Stepanek deadpanned: "I believe inside he got very mad."
Seven years and one Grand Slam trophy later, there are no hard feelings. In fact, the two couldn't stop rhapsodizing about one another's talents at their lengthy post-match news conference.
"This guy's legs are as fast as mine, if not faster," said Paes, who lost in the mixed doubles final with Elena Vesnina on Sunday. "He can jump higher than me. I'm not a bad athlete, but this guy is a super agent."
The feeling of adoration is apparently mutual.
"I'm listening like a 5-year-old kid to his idol," Stepanek said. "I saw in his eyes that his eyes are eating every word of mine. I felt the respect that's what, you know, what are you giving from the heart."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.