“The match was decided by a few points here and there” – Bopanna, after running the Bryans close at AO Round 1

On a windy day at Melbourne Park, India’s doubles ace, Rohan Bopanna, along with Japanese partner Yasutaka Uchiyama, ran one of the all-time great doubles pairs close in the 1st round of the Australian Open. They lost 1-6 6-3 3-6.

ITD volunteer Piyush Bajaj caught up with Rohan after the match to gather his thoughts. Excerpts below –

Piyush works as a business analyst at Dialog Information Technology in Melbourne, Australia. He’s worked with Infosys for 7 years and is an MBA graduate from Manipal University

Uchiyama and Bopanna (Credits – Balaram Dhulipala)

Q) Your thoughts on the match today against the all-time greats

Yeah, definitely not easy conditions. Having said that, when these difficult conditions happen, it’s always good to play with somebody who you have already played with. Trying out a new partner is not easy because sometimes communication differences are there and you don’t know what his strengths are, and what yours sare. I think that’s where I think we kind of got beaten.

Even though we lost the first set pretty convincingly, we came back very strongly. And then in the third set, I think it was just that a couple of points here and there and they were hitting great lobs today and with the wind blowing at 30 kilometers per hour, it’s a lot of movement. It’s not easy to be sure whether I should take it or leave it for my partner.

The Bryans in action (Credits – Balaram Dhulipala)

Q) Can you speak a little more about the wind today? It seemed really blustery.

It was tough conditions to play tennis, I mean, not only our match, but I think every single player out there had to adapt and accordingly try their best whatever they can do to play because very rarely you play in this much of wind. It’s the same for everyone. But just like I said, it’s just sometimes gelling with your partner and the guys we played against had the best doubles team out there and they’ve played for a long time. And I think they know exactly, what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Bopanna and Uchiyama ran the Bryans close (Credits – Balaram Dhulipala)

Q) You were supposed to play with Shapovalov here. What happened? Uchiyama hasn’t played a lot of doubles.

I had no other option because Denis(Shapovalov) decided against playing doubles last minute and most of the guys by then were already set in. So there were not really many partners I could choose from and so Uchiyama was just someone I had played against a little bit and I knew he does like to play doubles as well. So that was only option. Sometimes that’s what happened last minute, we have no other option but to go and try our best to find someone.

The Bofors serve (Credits – Balaram Dhulipala)

Q) You began 2020 with the boom winning Doha with your daughter watching. How did that feel?

Nothing can beat that feeling. It was the first time for me having her at a tournament. And I was also playing in Doha for the very first time as I’ve always been at the tournament in Chennai and Pune. I never really played that tournament. So it was nice to go to a new tournament after so many years. And, you know, obviously winning the title, there were a lot of Indians supporting us there.  I really enjoyed the tournament. And to have my wife and daughter, I know that it was really special.

Q) Did fatigue play a part in Auckland the week after?

No, I don’t know. I think the two opponents were playing extremely well. I think you have to give credit to them for sure. This week we split on Wednesday and I got there by Sunday. So there was no fatigue as such and they ended up winning the title. So, you know, clearly they were playing some good tennis.

Bopanna backhand (Credits – Balaram Dhulipala)

Q) What does your schedule look like from here on?

I’m heading to Pune for the next ATP event and then I’m going to Rotterdam. In Pune I’d be playing with Arjun(Kadhe) and Rotterdam with Shapovalov. I’d be playing Miami also with Shapovalov.

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