IANS

India's Rohan Bopanna made history on Saturday, becoming the oldest man in the Open Era to win a major men’s doubles title on Saturday, teaming up with Australian Matthew Ebden to win the Australian Open.

The 43-year-old Bopanna and Ebden overcame Italians Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori 7-6(0), 7-5 to clinch the crown at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

Bopanna, who was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian government for becoming the oldest first-time World No.1 in men's doubles recently, completed his mission to win his first Grand Slam men's doubles title.

Bopanna and Ebden were dominant on serve throughout the one-hour, 40-minute clash, winning 80 per cent (40/50) of points behind their first delivery and not facing a break point to cap a dream week.

Bopanna, who had won his first Grand Slam title, the mixed doubles title alongside Gabriela Dabrowski at the French Open in 2017, and Ebden produced their best tennis at the crucial stages. They found great depth on return in the first-set tie-break to storm ahead before they gained the crucial break of the second set in the 11th game. The second seeds Bopanna and Ebden won all seven tie-breaks they played at the hard-court major.

The Indian-Australian team bumped chests following match point, a celebration associated with Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi and also American greats Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan before they sunk to the ground. Bopanna and Ebden then returned to their feet to soak in the roars from the crowd.

It is the first time Bopanna has won a major men's doubles title, having lost in finals at the US Open in 2010 and 2023. The 43-year-old is the third Indian man in the Open Era to win a major men’s doubles title, joining Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. He will also become the oldest No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings on Monday.

Ebden, 36, has now won two major men’s doubles titles, having won Wimbledon in 2022 with Max Purcell. He is the 28th Australian man to win the Australian Open men’s doubles crown.

Bopanna is overall the fourth Indian to win a Grand Slam title after Paes, Bhupathi and Mirza and is now on the list of the star tennis players who have also been awarded the prestigious Padma Shri Award on Thursday.

Born on March 4, 1980, in Bangalore, Karnataka, to M. G. Bopanna, a coffee planter in Kodagu district, and Malika Bopanna, a housewife, Bopanna started playing tennis at the age of 11 because his father wanted him to pursue the sport.

Though he also enjoyed sports like hockey and football, by the age of 19, tennis became young Rohan's calling as won his first ITF Junior singles title in 1997 at the age of 17. After gaining experience in both singles and doubles at the junior and senior ITF levels, Bopanna turned professional in 2003.

(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by Odishatv.in staff)

scrollToTop