Summer of 43 for Bopanna; Teams up with Ebden to Win Australian Open

  A moment of celebration. Pic credits (Aus Open X)

If tennis be a theatre and doubles players artists in it, Rohan Bopanna and Matt Ebden came up with a performance in tandem that gained tumultuous applause and grabbed the Australian Open doubles trophy in Melbourne on Saturday night.
This was an adrenaline-fuelled performance, an emotional night, as the Indian-Aussie duo came out firing to destroy the Italian pair of Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori 7-6 (7-0), 7-5 and seal the title.
At age 43 – oops Level 43, to use his term – this was Bopanna’s maiden men’s doubles crown at a Grand Slam. As he hit an overhead winner to seal the trophy and landed on his back at the Rod Laver Arena, arms spread-eagled, therewere thousands of Indian tennis fans in tears.
This was a performance which defied age, one which defied the odds as the Italians looked fitter. Or so one thought. Bolelli was an important figure in the Davis Cup win for Italy last year. With Jannik Sinner also watching the doubles final, one thought the Italian pair would triumph.
But, no, Bopanna did the unthinkable. He has had to wait for so many years, almost 25, to win this big title. He sealed the No.1 ranking in doubles this week, and to rise to the top at a Grand Slam signifies how much effort he has put in. There was pressure, there were nerves, but the way Bopanna and Ebden teamed up was awesome.
Both champions celebrating with the trophy. Pic credits (ATP)                                                              Both champions celebrating with the trophy. Credits (ATP)
They played a first set tie-break which was red-hot, whacking the ball as if they were punishing it. Yet, doubles tennis is all about angles, nuances, and producing the right chemistry. Bopanna has played with over 75 different partners in his career but the way he has shaped a partnership with Ebden has been special.
Trust and faith have been key elements in this journey since 2023. The Australian Open was a stage for Bopanna to assert that he is enjoying his tennis and ready to do unthinkable things two months short of 44.He is an inspiration, a role model, an icon.
People compared him with Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. So, this one trophy missing from his cabinet hurt. Not anymore, he has got it now. For keeps.
“Thanks guys, thanks Rohan,” said Ebden. “Age is not even a number. I am grateful to you, Rohan, thanks.”
“I am at Level 43., this could not have been possible without Matt,” said Bopanna, choking with emotion. “Thank you, guys, I think I kept coming back to Australia because you guys (Tennis Australia) take care of me. Tennis is a great teacher and Scott Davidoff (coach) is a great teacher and thanks for being with me.
“Thank you, my beautiful wife and daughter.”
For the record, last year, Bopanna and Sania Mirza had peaked at the Australian Open before losing the mixed doubles final. This was a way to make up for that. In India, tennis is in the dumps. Bopanna has ensured that he will keep the flag flying. This is just the first step at age 43. He will go all out at the Paris Olympics, as he has often said.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to watch Rohan win,” said Sania Mirza later, having seen Bopanna’s heroics from the closest possible position.

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