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Rohan Bopanna becomes oldest Grand Slam champion with Australian Open 2024 title

Published at :January 27, 2024 at 6:58 PM
Modified at :January 28, 2024 at 12:23 AM
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(Courtesy : Onmanorama)

Ajay Gandhar

Indian Maestro earlier became the oldest No 1 player in men’s doubles

Rohan Bopanna became the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the Open Era as he clinched the Australian Open 2024 men’s doubles crown with his partner Matthew Ebden on Saturday. The 43-year-old Indian and the Australian duo defeated the Italian duo of Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori 7-6(0), 7-5 in a thrilling final at the Rod Laver Arena.

This was Bopanna’s first Grand Slam title in the men’s doubles category, and his second overall, after winning the mixed doubles trophy at the 2017 French Open with Gabriela Dabrowski. He also reached the finals of the 2010 US Open, the 2018 and 2023 Australian Opens, and the 2023 US Open in doubles, but fell short on each occasion.

For Ebden, this was his second Grand Slam title, having won the Wimbledon men’s doubles title in 2022 with Max Purcell. The 34-year-old Australian also reached the semifinals of the 2023 ATP Finals with Bopanna.

The Indo-Australian pair, who teamed up at the start of last season, had a remarkable run at the Australian Open, winning six matches in a row, including three in the super tie-break. They also defeated the sixth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic in the third round, and the fourth seeds Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni in the quarterfinals.

In the final, Bopanna and Ebden showed great composure and chemistry as they overcame a spirited challenge from Bolelli and Vavassori, who were playing their first Grand Slam final as a team. The first set was a tight affair, with both pairs holding their serves until the tie-break. In the tie-break, however, Bopanna and Ebden raised their level and played flawless tennis, winning seven points in a row to take the set.

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The second set was also evenly contested, with both pairs trading breaks in the fourth and fifth games. At 5-5, Bopanna and Ebden made the decisive move, breaking the Italians’ serve with some aggressive returns and volleys. They then served out the match in style, with Bopanna hitting an ace on the championship point.

With this victory, Bopanna also achieved another milestone, as he will become the world No. 1 in the ATP doubles rankings on Monday. He will surpass Austin Krajicek, who was the reigning No. 1 since November 2023. Bopanna will also become the oldest player to attain the top spot in doubles, breaking the record of Rajeev Ram, who was 39 years old.

Indian tennis player also broke the record of Jean-Julien Roger, a Dutchman who was 40 years and nine months old when he won the 2022 French Open title with Marcelo Arevalo from El Salvador,

Bopanna, who has been playing professional tennis since 2003, credited his longevity and success to his dedication and passion for the sport. He also thanked his partner Ebden, his coach Scott Davidoff, his family, and his fans for their support and encouragement.

Bopanna, who was conferred the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, earlier this month, said he hoped his achievement would inspire other players and people to pursue their dreams, regardless of their age.

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