Indian tennis star Rohan Bopanna.
Indian tennis star Rohan Bopanna.File photo

Clarity of thought made huge difference to the way I played tennis: Rohan Bopanna

At 43, Bopanna became the oldest tennis player to win a ATP Masters series doubles title when he triumphed at Indians Masters with partner Ebden.

NEW DELHI: Celebrating the 500th match-win milestone of his career, Rohan Bopanna says his consistent success had a lot to do with the clarity of thought and improved health that came with practising Iyengar Yoga.

Bopanna and his Australian partner Matthew Ebden beat John Millman and Edward Winter in the second round of the Australian Open. This was Bopanna's 501st win of his career.

Bopanna is one of the most successful Indian tennis players. Leander Paes and Sania Mirza have enjoyed more than 700 wins in their respective glorious careers while Mahesh Bhupathi ended his own successful career just three short of the 700-win mark.

"It's a truly special feeling that I got myself to 500 wins. There have been a lot of sacrifices in this journey and a lot of people were with me during this time," Bopanna, who is still going strong at the age of 43, told official broadcast channel while talking to former Indian player Somdev Devvarman.

Asked about the changes and adjustments he had to make during his journey, Bopanna said he had altered his playing style of serve and volley and restricted himself to baseline play due to a knee issue.

"It was very difficult to not be able to serve and volley which I was always taught to do and was my style. I did not have cartilages on my knee and it would pain.

"I had to manage it and find new ways of playing that worked while playing at the highest level. Back in 2020, during the pandemic, I started doing the Iyengar Yoga and that significantly made a positive impact on my health. I could do 90-minute sessions four times a week."

Iyengar Yoga is a style of yoga taught and made famous by Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar, who was a yoga teacher and author of many books on yoga.

"I think mentally also I became much stronger. I was clearer in the way I was thinking while playing tennis. That made a great difference, it resulted in a great last year for me as I enjoyed myself being on the court."

At 43, Bopanna became the oldest tennis player to win a ATP Masters series doubles title when he triumphed at Indians Masters with partner Ebden.

He also became the oldest player to win a match at the year-end Finals.

Bopanna also spoke about the challenging conditions at the Australian Open and having to push his boundaries to get them wins.

"It's really tricky, the conditions in Melbourne. When it is windy, tennis is really different. You can't go after your serve, you have to play the percentage game. That is really not my style and I had to work really hard with my legs. But, thankfully, we got through," he concluded.

Bopanna and Ebden will next take on Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic in their third round match on Sunday.

"Matty and I have not played against this pair before. It will be tough," he said.

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The New Indian Express