By Nithish Raghunandanan, 17th June, 2019
Rohan Bopanna had a star-studded run at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart last week partnering the young & upcoming Denis Shapovalov of Canada. The duo upset the Bryan Brothers in the 1st round, before eventually losing to top seeds Bruno Soares and John Peers in the final. We caught up with Rohan for a brief chat after the finals –
Q. How did you feel about the match?
It was good. Denis & me were playing great the entire week. Congrats to Bruno(Soares) & John(Peers), who also had a great week. Today I think they played really well. They stuck to their game plan which they executed pretty well and we did have a few chances right in the beginning of that set, one on the deuce point but with doubles, it is always like that with one or two points making the difference. They had a great returning game in the 2nd set to break Denis. But nevertheless, even then at 5-3 we still had the deuce point. It is never over till the last point in this format. But having said that, it is good to get four matches here on the grass and you know I have been having a tough season coming in here. So I am really happy to get four good matches.
Q. How is it partnering with a young gun like Shapovalov?
I think the good part is he always wants to learn & he is flamboyant and he has got so much of raw power in his strokes. And the guy is quick. It is really fun playing with these guys. They are fearless. And the best part is that they want to play doubles with 100% commitment, which is great to see. I think for him, he also enjoys it. We have been playing together now for three tournaments(played together at Indian Wells and Miami as well) & we have enjoyed playing with each other. I think that is the main thing. You got to have a good communication & just enjoy the partnership.
Q. Would you say that communication & enjoying each others’ company is the thing that makes you play well together?
Absolutely! I think you have to enjoy to play tennis & do well on the tennis courts. The minute you start doing that along with your doubles partner or whoever it may be. Even in a relationship, you have got to be able to communicate & enjoy every single moment of the journey, and that is what helps us play better on the tennis court.
Q. You and Shapovalov had entered the Queens draw next week but missed the cutoff. Are you also planning to play together at Wimbledon?
No, I am playing with Pablo Cuevas at Wimbledon because it is five sets in both singles & doubles at Wimbledon. So it makes it tough for Shapo to play both singles and doubles. So I will be playing Eastbourne with Cuevas & Wimbledon with Cuevas. So, next week I will just be in London training. Unfortunately, I didn’t get in and because we were playing here we couldn’t play the qualifiers. It is another 5-6 days & then I go to Eastbourne.
Q. The Tokyo Olympics is next year. What is your strategy for it?
More than a year left. So you still have one more year to go. I mean June 8, 2020 right? If I knew what my ranking was then! You never know. One week changes everything.
Results this week –
[R1] Rohan Bopanna (IND)/ Denis Shapovalov (CAN) d. (3) Bob Bryan (USA)/ Mike Bryan (USA) 6-4 3-6 10-6
[QF] Rohan Bopanna (IND)/ Denis Shapovalov (CAN) d. (WC) Lucas Pouille (FRA)/ Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-4 6-3
[SF] Rohan Bopanna (IND)/ Denis Shapovalov (CAN) d. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)/ Matt Reid (AUS) 6-3 6-4
[F] Rohan Bopanna (IND)/ Denis Shapovalov (CAN) l. (1) John Peers (AUS)/ Bruno Soares (BRA) 5-7 3-6