Australian Open 2024: Rohan Bopanna, Mattew Ebden crowned men's doubles champions
AT 43 years of age, India's Rohan Bopanna became the oldest-ever men's Grand Slam main event winner, when he, along with his partner Matthew Ebden, beat Italian duo Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori in the men's doubles Final at the Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.
Earlier in the week, Bopanna was guaranteed to become the oldest tennis player to secure a number one rank in the standings. His coronation is expected to happen mere days after his Australian Open win. In Melbourne, on Saturday, Bopanna broke the record set by Jean-Julien Rojer, who had lifted the French Open men's doubles championship in 2022 with Marcelo Arevola aged 40.
The second-seeded pairing at AO 2024, Bopanna-Ebden had been utterly dominant en route to the final. However, they met their match in the trophy bout, with the Italian duo stretching them to a tiebreaker in the first set. Bopanna-Ebden's class shone through in the first-to-seven race, which they won 7-0 to take a set lead.
The second set nearly followed the same road as the first, with the two pairs tied on five games each towards the end. But, a crucial break in the penultimate game allowed Bopanna and Ebden to serve for the match, which they subsequently did with aplomb. The match lasted an hour and 39 minutes in total.
Bopanna, Ebden won the Men's Doubles Final, 7-6 (7-0), 7-5. In the process, Bopanna became the latest Indian tennis star to win a Grand Slam, following in the footsteps of Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi, and Sania Mirza.
For Bopanna, this is the first Australian Open title in any category and his second victory in a Grand Slam event. He won the mixed doubles title at the French Open in 2017 with Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski.
Addressing the crowd after the match, Bopanna had this to say: “My beautiful wife, Supriya, & my daughter, Tridha.. thank you for all the support, all the love. I know a couple of years ago I sent her a video message & said ‘I’m gonna call it a day.’ Because I wasn’t winning matches at all. I went 5 months without winning a match. I thought that was gonna be the end of my journey. Perseverance inside me just kept me going. I changed so many things & found a wonderful partner.
“As Matt said, you know how old I am. I’ve changed it a bit & said I’m at level 43, not age 43. Obviously, this couldn’t have been possible without a fantastic Aussie partner by my side. Thanks to Matt. We had a fantastic season last year. For me to win my first men’s doubles Grand Slam here at the Asian Pacific Grand Slam, it’s a home slam,” Bopanna added.