CHENNAI: Even as sporting relations between India and Pakistan have continued to suffer after the Pulwama attack in 2019, one of the most-popular teams is coming back after a gap of seven years. Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, who took the tennis world by storm thanks to their on-court performances and off-court diplomacy, will be teaming up at the Acapulco Open, an ATP 500 meet in Mexico, slated to begin on March 15.
It was a straightforward decision for the pair who spent a lot of time together in Melbourne this past month. “We spent a lot of time together in Australia,” Aisam, World No 49, told TNIE. “There we spoke about playing the Open in Dubai, Bops (Bopanna) was also looking for a partner.
Unfortunately, our rankings didn’t allow us to get into the Dubai meet. We got in Acapulco instead. Really excited about sharing the court with Bops again. Hopefully, we can hit it off, feel comfortable with each other, let’s see. I hope we can play some more tournaments in the near future.”
The pair, who won five titles between 2010 and 2014, exhibited fine chemistry in those five years. Aisam says that chemistry is in tact. “Pure friendship, on and off the court as well. He is one of my closest friends. That friendship and honesty we had while working towards the same goal was the main reason for our success (in the past). Our games also complemented each other, we are better players right now. I believe we are more developed, more experienced right now.
Hope we can fire it up again, start again from where we stopped a few years ago.” With a combined ranking of 89, there aren’t many choices out there. And the only way that both of them can climb back into the top 30 is if they can start winning consistently: something that both of them have had problems of late.