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Seven partners, World No 3...it's a Bopstar life

Bopanna won in Marseille partnering with Britain’s Colin Fleming and a couple of months later he was back on the court with Mahesh Bhupathi, only to part ways again before Wimbledon.

Published: 25th July 2013 07:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2013 10:05 AM   |  A+A-

Bopanna

Attaining the World No 3 ranking is no mean feat, especially having played with seven different partners in seven months. And Rohan Bopanna survived this roller-coaster ride to achieve this milestone.

“I had been working hard on performing better. It is always a blessing for any sportsperson to be ranked higher and it’s no different with me. I was definitely aiming to rise in my ranking but No. 3 came as a surprise and a very pleasant one at that,” he said.

Wishes poured out in plenty, from near and dear. “A lot of players wished me. Mahesh (Bhupathi), Aisam (Qureshi), all of them had congratulatory messages for me. It was overwhelming and so the ranking felt all that more special,” he added.

After a shaky start, Bopanna won in Marseille, his only title of the season, partnering Britain’s Colin Fleming. A couple of months later he was back on the court with Mahesh Bhupathi, only to part ways again before Wimbledon.

“We had been playing together for quite some time and when you are playing together for long you tend to understand what works out and what doesn’t. We took the decision keeping in mind that performing our best was the top-priority. So, I paired up with (Edouard Roger) Vasselin and luckily it worked well for us,” he said.

This move turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the 33-year-old went on to reach the semifinal of Wimbledon, his best ever performance there. “Vasselin and I clicked well on court and the result is out there. We played well, understood each other’s game and that reflected on our performance. Pairing up with Vasselin was surely a decision that worked well in my favour,” he said.

Though Bopanna couldn’t go all the way, the Indo-French pair gave the Bryans a stiff fight. “This was definitely my best performance at the Wimbledon. We played well against the Bryan Brothers and fought till the very end. Their early breakthroughs definitely helped them to get the better out of us but we resisted as long and as well as we could,” the Bangalorean added.

After switching partners more often than necessary, Bopanna is relieved to have found Edouard. “Edouard has definitely been a great partner to play alongside. We have understood each other well and so our on court performance has also been great. Changing partners have affected my game but it has all been in pursuit of finding the best partner who will allow me to perform better.”

However, since Edouard also plays singles, he won’t be joining the Indian before the Cincinnati Open. And in comes Bopanna’s eighth partner of the year. “I will be partnering a German player by the name of Andre Begemann. Though I have never played with him before, I hope that we will work out well,” he said.

Don’t be surprised if you see the Indo-Pak express back on track in the near future for Bopanna hasn’t completely ruled out getting back with his good old partner Aisam. “That certainly was a winning combination but we both have moved on. But you never know what the future has in store for us.”

Bopanna also hopes to end his Grand Slam drought very soon. “A Grand Slam is definitely on my mind. The US Open is played on hard surfaces which are quicker and so I have been working on my game to get it right. If everything works out well, you never know we might just see the Grand Slam dream becoming a reality.”

With only the Bryans to overtake in the rankings, the world No 1 dream seems to be inching closer and closer. “Though there is no chance of catching up with the Bryan Brothers this year, being number one is definitely something I am working towards. Hopefully all my hard work will pay off,” he signed off.



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