Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna scripted a big win for India against Croatia in the doubles rubber to give India its lone point in the 1-3 loss of the World Group playoffs. Our pair won against Franko Škugor & Mate Pavic with a score of 63 67 75 to script a history win.

Rohan Bopanna shared his thoughts on the tie in the post-match interview.

Thoughts on the doubles win

Starting the day being 0-2 down, it was a must-win match to keep us alive in this tourney. We have had some great doubles wins in the past with Leander / Mahesh winning many of them. With them winning those matches being 0-2 down and giving the singles guys an opportunity to come back – that’s how the Davis Cup feeling began for several of us. 

We got off to a good start and got an early break which gave us the momentum in the first set. In the second set as well, we were definitely the better team. We had a lot of chances to break and we finally did break. Credit to them. They came up with a good return game to break us. We had a couple of match points in the tie breaker as well. In the first match point if you ask me if we could do anything better? I would say no. Those were probably the best 4 forehands that I could hit. Credit to them, they came up with good shots. 

We fought hard in the last set. We were down a break, we never gave up. We kept each other motivated. Our captain was always pushing us. To make sure we stay with them and not give a double break. That worked for us in the end. 

On your partnership with Leander Paes. 

I think every time we had a few days to practice and be ready for a match, we did well. That is the key for any partnership – to have that preparation. Today, knowing that this is going to be Leander’s last Davis Cup match – it was special. It was a very high quality match, one of the best that we’ve played. The last time we did that was against Serbia in Bangalore. To play away from home is much tougher, especially being 0-2 down. It’s the 1-week preparation of practicing and hanging out together which made the difference.  

Credit to Leander for giving us these opportunities to represent India over all these years. We’ve all had our ups and downs but when we step on the court, we represent our country and give everything out there. 

I told the singles guys that ultimately there is a lot to learn. To get to the world group, we have to have a chance to win those singles matches. Only doubles wins will not take us far. Today we gave them a chance but Cilic was unstoppable and credit to the Croatian team. 

Ramkumar Ramnathan had a great match against Marin Cilic. Your thoughts on his performance.  

Ram is an extremely talented player. He can play a high quality of game on every surface. Yesterday it showed in the way he played. If he can take that and bring it on the tour, he will definitely be ranked much higher than where he is today. 

In the last few months, he has been struggling on confidence but yesterday’s match, he can take a lot of positives. Being 0-1 down and against a Grand Slam champion with millions of people watching you – to play that kind of tennis, there are so many good things he can take. 

As Leander said, he can definitely improve. All of our guys need to sit together and figure how playing on the tour and how playing for the country in Davis Cup – how different things are. There is a lot more pressure when it comes to the Davis Cup. The day they realise that, is the day that we will start performing as a team at a higher level. 

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