Bopanna: 'I got to the top-10 by picking my own partner'

The straight sets win in the Davis Cup tie against South Korea was flattering indeed, but both Bopanna and Paes would know very well the magnitude of the test that awaits them in Rio.

Rohan Bopanna says he will not dwell on the past and hopes to play with a positive attitude in Rio.   -  N. Sudarshan

The Davis Cup tie against South Korea was a much-awaited one. Not in the expectation of a high-qualify fare, for the Koreans were a severely depleted lot, but to see how the Leander Paes – Rohan Bopanna duo combined ahead of the Rio Olympics.

The straight sets win was flattering indeed, but both Bopanna and Paes would know very well the magnitude of the test that awaits them in Rio. On Tuesday, at an event organised by Zeven, his apparel sponsor, Bopanna spoke to Sportstar. Excerpts:

Did the match bring you and Leander Paes closer?

Like I have always said, with Leander and me there was never any problem in chemistry. It is just that our game styles take some time to match up. We had three to four days of good practice and that helped. Even before Rio we have a few days.

So what clicked against Serbia in that memorable five-set win in 2014 in Bengaluru?

There is whole combination of things at work. We were two sets to love and a break down. The crowd made a big difference. That gave some energy back. Then we started playing better and they perhaps felt the pressure. More so after losing the third set. But it’s not always the case. It was five sets then. In Rio it isn’t. If it had been three sets in Bengaluru, we would have gone home long back.

Did you consider pairing with Sania Mirza for Wimbledon? Your combined ranking might have been good enough.

I did check. But unfortunately she was committed to playing with Ivan Dodig. It’s a pairing which did well in Australia and the French Open. The only thing I could do was to check with her. But it couldn't happen.

How much did all this affect you?

I don't like to dwell on the past. Like when you lose close matches you have to come out fresh the next tournament. That [thinking] has helped me. I got to the top-10 by picking my own partner. It’s the same when I picked Saketh (Myneni). But it’s not going to change. We have to be positive and with that we can play great tennis.

How much of a concern is the Zika virus?

It is. I am travelling on my own. My wife isn’t. These are the kind of precautions you take. It’s a serious thing. I am not thinking much beyond that right now but hope it is okay.

Owing to Zika, Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic have pulled out. What does it do to your chances considering they were to partner Radek Stepanek and Vasek Pospisil respectively?

Pospisil might still play with Daniel Nestor. But I truly believe we need some luck in the draw as well. We may not be seeded. That’s going to be tough. We could play anyone. And as for mixed doubles, it is the toughest event. With a 10-point super tie-breaker everybody has a chance. It’s like winning a lottery.

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