Rohan Bopanna, at the age of 43, has made history by becoming the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title. Bopanna and his partner Mathew Ebden triumphed in the Australian Open men's doubles final, defeating the Italian duo Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori with a 7-6 (0), 7-5 victory.
This remarkable achievement comes just days after Bopanna secured the top spot in the doubles world rankings for the first time in his career. The Indian-Australian duo's win in their home Grand Slam tournament is an incredible feat and a testament to their skills and partnership.
During the press conference following their victory, Bopanna and Ebden shared their thoughts on their remarkable journey and success. They expressed their joy in winning a Grand Slam title together, emphasizing the significance of their victory as representatives of the Asia-Pacific region.
For Bopanna, this moment is by far the pinnacle of his career. The flood of emotions running through his mind is incomparable, and he can hardly contain his excitement. After a challenging year in 2020, to start off the new year with such an extraordinary achievement is a dream come true for him. He is grateful to share this milestone with Ebden and is delighted to do it in their home slam.
Reflecting on their quick success as a doubles pair, Ebden attributes their improvement to the mutual challenge they presented to each other. They both pushed themselves to enhance specific areas of their game, leading to significant growth over the past year. In the highly competitive world of doubles tennis, players must excel in every aspect of the game, possessing a solid serve, forehand, return, and volley. Bopanna and Ebden embody this well-rounded approach, which has contributed to their rapid success.
When asked about his struggles and thoughts of quitting the game, Bopanna shared valuable advice for those experiencing similar testing times. He emphasized the importance of not setting limitations for oneself. Often, when goals aren't achieved within a specified timeframe, individuals believe it is the end of their journey. Bopanna encourages others to open up about their feelings and seek support. He vividly recalled a moment in Estoril, Portugal when he confided in his wife and coach about his doubts. Expressing his concerns provided him with relief, prompting him to persevere and find joy in the sport once again. Bopanna believes that perseverance and the ability to find enjoyment in what one is doing are crucial in overcoming difficult times.
The final moments of the championship match were filled with intense emotions for Bopanna and Ebden. As Bopanna hit an overhead smash to secure victory, a weight seemed to lift off his shoulders, and he collapsed to the ground in celebration. The relief he felt was immense, especially after years of striving for a Grand Slam title. Both players, overwhelmed with joy, basked in the glory of their achievement.
Moving forward, Bopanna and Ebden understand the respect and admiration that exists within the tennis community. They acknowledge that every player goes through their own journey and appreciates the wisdom shared by the experienced players. Bopanna particularly admires the younger generation's athleticism and agility, constantly seeking ways to improve his own game by observing their movements and techniques. The locker room, where champions and aspiring talents all coexist, is a space filled with appreciation and camaraderie.
Regarding his future in the sport, Bopanna firmly believes he is currently playing the best tennis of his life. He attributes his success not only to his skills but also to his meticulous body management. Recognizing the importance of recovery, he frequently submerges himself in ice baths and focuses on mobility exercises. Bopanna has invested in a personal physiotherapist who ensures his fitness level allows him to perform at his best. By prioritizing his well-being, Bopanna has found a newfound calmness and contentment in his game. As long as he continues to enjoy playing and maintains his peak performance, he sees no reason to put a limit on his career.
The triumph of Rohan Bopanna and Mathew Ebden at the Australian Open men's doubles final is an inspiration to all. Their historic achievement serves as a reminder that age is just a number and that with dedication, perseverance, and a well-rounded approach, dreams can turn into realities.