Rohan Bopanna: ‘I’m playing the best tennis of my career’

The Indian, who won the French Open mixed doubles title, spoke at a press conference at the KSLTA Stadium on Saturday.

Rohan Bopanna joined Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza as the only Indians to win a Grand Slam title.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Rohan Bopanna believes that he can win every time he enters the court, an upbeat feeling that is quite new to him. This self-confidence propelled him to the French Open mixed doubles title on Thursday, with Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski.

Bopanna, who joined Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza as the only Indians to win a Grand Slam title, spoke at a press conference at the KSLTA Stadium here on Saturday.

Excerpts:

Gaining self-belief in 2017: At the start of the year, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and I won the Chennai Open. Then, Marcin (Matkowski) and I reached the Dubai Open final. In April, Pablo Cuevas and I took the Monte Carlo Masters title. So I’ve played with three different players this year. I’ve had to adapt to their styles, and I’ve had to figure out a way to use our combined strengths to get good results. This is the main reason why I feel that I’m now playing the best tennis of my career. Every time I step on to the court, I feel like I can win. This level of confidence is something new for me.

Winning his maiden Grand Slam title, 14 years after turning professional: I have never given up on anything - this is my strength. I constantly keep doing the right things, irrespective of the result. When I was a junior, I had lost a lot of tournaments in the early rounds. I wasn’t discouraged, and I just continued to work really hard. I carried this same attitude into my professional career. I don’t have any regrets about not winning a Grand Slam title for the first 14 years of my career. The things I’ve learnt over the years has made me a better player.

Being better prepared than he was in his only other Grand Slam final appearance (2010 U.S. Open men’s doubles): I felt no nerves at all this time around. All the experience gained over the years meant that I was much better prepared now than I was in 2010.

Camaraderie with Gabriela Dabrowski: Huge congratulations to her for becoming the first Canadian woman to win a Grand Slam title. It helps to share a sense of camaraderie with your partner. I will partner her at Wimbledon also.

Arjuna Award recommendation: I’m very, very happy. The AITA had nominated me in 2014 and 2015 as well, but I didn’t get the nod. We have to wait and see what happens this year.

Grasscourt season ahead: I will play Queens with Ivan Dodig, as Pablo is not available at that time. Pablo and I will team up for Eastbourne and Wimbledon. Our goal is to try and qualify for the year-end London Masters.

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