Rohan Bopanna is happy to be back home after the successful stint at Wimbledon. He was particularly pleased to have made the doubles semifinals with Matthew Ebden, after having skipped the event last year.
“We won some close matches. We could have easily got out in the first round. We were match points down. It was battle after battle. When you play with a regular partner, you are able to find a way to come through such matches. It was fantastic to be playing the semifinals in Wimbledon. The last time was in 2015,” said the 43-year-old Bopanna, who has risen to No. 7 in the world.
Bopanna had made the semifinals of Wimbledon doubles in 2015 with Florin Mergea of Romania, and in 2013 with Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France.
“At last, I got to play with one partner for six months after a long time. The last time was 2015,” said Bopanna, as he put things in perspective.
He was happy that the doubles matches were reduced to best-of-three sets at Wimbledon. “I don’t think my body can handle best of five sets. The two-week tournament literally got reduced to a single week event for us. We played Monday to Thursday every day, from the second round”, said Bopanna.
With a personal physio around, and with all his efforts to strengthen the body, with the right routine and recovery techniques, Bopanna said that he was able to tackle the competition well. “In the semifinal, we had small chances. They (Wesley Koohlof and Neal Skupski) were the better team on the big points. Koolhof was serving very accurate and came up with the shots. I think we had used up all our luck in the early rounds. Of course, in the quarterfinals, we came back from being a set down. It was pretty windy this year,” recalled Bopanna, about the loss to the top seeds and eventual champions.
Bopanna lost the mixed doubles first round despite playing with Gabriela Dabrowski, with whom he had won the French Open in 2017. However, he pointed out that the opponents, Ivan Dodig and Latisha Chan, were also Grand Slam champions. “In a way, it was a blessing in disguise. I got to focus better on doubles”, said Bopanna.
Giving a little more insight into his approach, Bopanna said that he went by instinct and changed the string pattern of his racquet, specifically for Wimbledon. “I use Luxilon for vertical, and natural gut for horizontal. Since there are not many rallies on grass, I changed it around and had natural gut for the vertical strings. It gives the extra pop for serve and volley. I am glad that I trusted my instincts, as it proved good. If we have natural gut both ways, there will be too much power, the ball may fly, and the arm may tend to hold back,” explained Bopanna.
Bopanna will return to the circuit with the Toronto Masters, and go through a series of events, including the Davis Cup tie at home in Lucknow, and the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
Bopanna and Ebden are ranked No. 3 in the race for the year-end ATP Tour Finals to be staged in Turin in November.
“Our chances are good and we are pretty well placed”, said Bopanna, looking forward to more exciting times on the Tour.
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