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  Opinion   Edit  28 Jan 2024  AA Edit | Bopanna turns back the clock

AA Edit | Bopanna turns back the clock

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Jan 29, 2024, 12:05 am IST
Updated : Jan 29, 2024, 12:05 am IST

Indian tennis icon Rohan Bopanna makes history as oldest man to secure No.1 ranking in doubles

In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 file photo, India's Rohan Bopanna at the 19th Asian Games, in Hangzhou, China. (PTI File Image)
 In this Friday, Sept. 29, 2023 file photo, India's Rohan Bopanna at the 19th Asian Games, in Hangzhou, China. (PTI File Image)

Just about a month shy of turning 44, Rohan Bopanna has not only defied age but also injected renewed spirit into Indian tennis, which has made headlines for controversies more than victories on the court. Bopanna achieved two extraordinary feats within a week at the Australian Open. When he advanced to the semifinals, he became the oldest man to secure the No.1 ranking in doubles. Soon after, the towering man from Coorg, sporting a grey beard, capped off his fabulous run in Melbourne by clinching his first Grand Slam title in men's doubles, making history as the oldest to do so.

Bopanna's performance challenges the conventional narrative about the twilight of a professional sportsperson’s career. Like fine wine, he seems to be improving with age, showcasing a remarkable blend of experience and skill. Over the last seven Grand Slam events, he has reached the semifinals or finals four times. In 2023, Bopanna made it to eight finals and qualified for the season-ending ATP Finals, a testament to his enduring consistency.

Having turned pro in 2003 and experiencing the typical journeyman's career with various doubles partners, Bopanna's sustained motivation and mental resilience are commendable. The 13-year gap between his first and second Slam doubles finals (2010 US Open and 2023 US Open, respectively) underscores his unwavering commitment to staying on the tour despite setbacks. Faced with challenges such as a dodgy knee, he adopted unconventional fitness routines like yoga and swimming.

As Bopanna puts it, “I’m at – I call it – level 43;" he has not just proven that age is merely a number but has set an inspiring example of how dedication, resilience and adaptability can propel an athlete to greatness. In the broader context of Indian tennis, renowned for its doubles prowess, with Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza setting high standards, Bopanna’s achievements add a unique chapter to the narrative.

Tags: aa edit, rohan bopanna, tennis