Lockdown diaries: How Bopanna survived 18 hours at Doha airport

Indian tennis star Rohan Bopanna cancelled his US trip at the right time; at present, he is having a happy family time at his coffee estate in Coorg, Karnataka.

The 40-year-old Rohan Bopanna, who has a mixed Grand Slam title to his credit, is quite mature to look at the crisis scenario with equanimity.   -  Special Arrangement


These are difficult times, but Rohan Bopanna has no complaints. He is at his coffee estate in Coorg, huddled with family.

“We are tackling things on a day-to-day basis. It is not easy to ask the plantation workers to stop. We take precautions. One day we had only the men working. We make sure that they don’t stand close to each other. We are creating awareness. They wash their hands before they go home. It is a challenge for everybody. No matter who you are, it is not easy,” said the former world No. 3 doubles tennis player.

Bopanna, who had helped India win the doubles rubber with Leander Paes against Croatia in Zagreb in losing cause in the Davis Cup in March, feels that he was lucky to be in Coorg instead of the US.

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“During the Davis Cup, everything was fine. After the tie I was in Doha, waiting overnight for the flight to Los Angeles. Sumit Nagal and Prajnesh Gunneswaran travelled through Europe to the US. Since doubles was on Friday, I had booked through Doha. I had the option of a hotel in Doha, but stayed at the airport. Physio Gaurang Shukla had also joined me to be on the same flight. About an hour and a half before the morning flight, we got the news that Indian Wells tournament had been cancelled. We managed to change our ticket to India, for the evening. We spent time at the airport, using the swimming pool and the gym, on a pay-and-use basis. We spent nearly 18 hours at the airport. My wife and daughter were supposed to join me in Doha for the US trip. But we had cancelled the plan because the coronavirus situation had started getting serious. We didn’t want to expose the kid,” recalled Bopanna, who was obviously thrilled to spend time with his family in the serene atmosphere of Coorg...

Read the full story when the latest issue of Sportstar magazine is available on April 8.

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