Rohan Bopanna competed with some of the best players in the world — men and women — in the relaxed ambience of the World Tennis League (December 19-24) in Dubai.
“I had the best seat with them on the sidelines, listening to what they were thinking,” said Bopanna.
“They trained during the day with their coaches, and in the evening competed in a nice easy way. We had DJs performing later, which made for a very enjoyable atmosphere,” recalled Bopanna.
With his schedule packed till the Davis Cup tie against Denmark, Bopanna was back home for a few days in Bengaluru, before going to Pune for the Maharashtra Open ATP event to start the season. “I spoke to Holger Rune during the league. He said that he would play the Davis Cup tie against us. With a top-10 player like him in the squad, it becomes very difficult for us, especially away from home,” said Bopanna.
‘Quick learner’ Swiatek
Not ruling out India’s chances, Bopanna felt that the Indian players had to raise their level to make a match of it. The World League also gave a chance for Bopanna to train with some top players, including World No. 1 Iga Swiatek. “She did come across as an affectionate and warm person. She is very consistent, and the backhand is her money shot. The top spin on the forehand she hits pretty deep,” observed Bopanna.
With Swiatek’s coach Tomasz Wiktorowski requesting Bopanna to speak up if he noticed anything in her game, Bopanna was happy to share his insight to sharpen her volleys. “The coach may have been telling her the same. But when I say it, it is a different voice and leads to a different perception. She is a quick learner and was able to execute better volleys, stepping in. She was sweet to acknowledge my help,” said Bopanna.
Ranked No. 19 in the world, the 42-year-old Bopanna said he was happy to partner a top 35 singles player, Botic van de Zandschulp, for the ATP event in Pune. He was glad that his regular partner for the new season, Wimbledon champion Matthew Ebden, had recovered from his injury and would be competing in the first tournament in Adelaide.
“We will be partnering in the second tournament in Adelaide and continue thereafter,” said Bopanna.