Bopanna pleased with fruitful season

The French Open mixed doubles title with Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada has been the icing on the cake in what has been a fabulous season for the Indian.

Rohan Bopanna... “It’s always great to win titles.”   -  K. Murali Kumar

Rohan Bopanna has opted to view his three titles and three runner-up finishes this season as three gold and three silver medals.

The French Open mixed doubles title with Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada has been the icing on the cake in what has been a fabulous season for the Indian.

When contacted by Sportstar, Bopanna said he was particularly pleased to do well despite playing with many different partners in what could be viewed as the “most challenging season” for him.

Off to Paris for the last tournament of the season with Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay, with whom he won the big title in Vienna on Sunday, the 37-year-old Bopanna revealed he would be partnering the Frenchman Edouard Roger Vasselin next season.

“Edourd Roger is now focussing only on doubles. So, I thought that will be good for us to work together as a team and build a strong partnership,” said Bopanna, ranked 14 in the world. He said he enjoyed playing with Pablo and the manner the two pulled off two titles in Monte Carlo and Vienna after being down match points.

“Pablo is back to full fitness, but he is still struggling with confidence. I’m sure, winning the title helps in a big way for anyone looking to get matches, particularly after coming back from injury,” he said.

‘Great feeling’

“Always a great feeling to win titles. Winning two matches in the super tie-break was special. In the final, we had a match point in the second set when (Brazil’s Marcelo) Demoliner served at 5-6 and it was a deuce point. Then, being up in the super tie-break 7-5, we lost four points in a row, to be down two match points. We believed in ourselves to win the next four points. That makes winning more special. In Monte Carlo, we saved match points in the quarterfinals,” recalled Bopanna, who had started the season by winning the Chennai Open with compatriot Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan.

Read: Divij Sharan wins doubles title in Antwerp

Bopanna had made the doubles finals of ATP-1000 Canadian Open with Ivan Dodig of Croatia, Eastbourne ATP-250 with Andre Sa of South Africa and the Dubai ATP-500 with Marcin Matkowski of Poland.

Even though he has not matched his best rank of No. 3 that he reached in 2013, or reached the men’s doubles Grand Slam final as in 2010 at the US Open, Bopanna felt it was an excellent season. He had won four titles last season, two each with Daniel Nestor of Canada and Florin Mergea of Romania.

The Davis Cup World Group play-off against Canada was one tie in which everyone expected Bopanna to pull his weight, while partnering Purav Raja, but the Indian pair lost the crucial rubber in four sets. “Yes, we could have won the doubles in Davis Cup, but we were not the favourites against players who are Grand Slam champions. We need to look ahead and get back to the World Group next year, as we have a strong line up of good players in the mix,” said Bopanna.

With six players - Divij Sharan, Purav Raja, Leander Paes, Saketh Myneni, Vijay Sundar Prashanth, Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan - striking success at various levels, Bopanna felt there India could provide bigger impacts on the Grand Slams next season. “A bunch of guys doing extremely well, it is a positive sign for Indian tennis. The more teams we have, the better chances for sure, in Grand Slams,” he said.