‘A win under an hour helps’ – Bopanna & Ebden as they move into R3 comfortably

Rohan Bopanna and Matt Ebden cruised into the 3rd round of the US Open with a straight set win over Golubev/Safiullin. The duo shared their thought after the match.

Excerpts below –

Ashish Malhotra: Great match. The last three games in particular, you guys looked like you were having a lot of fun out there. And in the last game to come back from 40-0 down, is that kind of just the mentality that you have when you’re a top doubles team against maybe a less experienced pair? That even at 40-0 down you feel like you can turn that game

Rohan Bopanna: I think, to be honest, after fourth, fifth game, we got into the returning games much better. I think we got used to the pace of their serve and adjusted accordingly. You know – how we wanted to play as a team. And I think we put a lot of pressure and made a lot of returns, even though they were holding sometimes comfortably – but there’s always making them play those volleys, making them play that extra ball.

In terms of 40-0, we just made them play. And especially at 40-15 he hit a volley which he missed and then obviously it gets us back in that game. And yeah, being a break up definitely helps that momentum there as well.

Matt Ebden: Yeah, always nice to go for the double break.

So I mean, yeah, when they’re 40-0 love if we can – I think actually I had a good forehand return winner, we actually passed him. So that gave us then a chance to hang in there. I said let’s just hang in this game, give ourselves a chance. And he did, made a good return. The opponent missed one. And then he doubled, you feel that pressure and then we played two really good points actuallyafter that.

So yeah, I mean, we know it’s our strength. So if we get any little sniff or chance, we’re a chance to come back and break. Doesn’t always happen, but it’s always nice to go for a double break, you know? And sure, happy to serve out the match in one break, but two is always better.

Ashish Malhotra: The match was just barely over an hour. In these early rounds, how important is it to you to be efficient like that and get off the court quickly?

Rohan Bopanna: I think definitely extremely important. We just have to stick to our game plan and that’s what we’ve done the first two rounds. And yeah if you come up with a win like that in an hour, or under an hour, it’s always nice.

It gives that extra rest needed and not unnecessarily spending too much time on the court.

Matt Ebden: A quick game is a good game. So yeah, nice to get back in the locker room as soon as possible and think about the next match in a couple of days.

Ashish Malhotra: You both have a lot of experience and have played with other partners who maybe had less experience than you. But I feel like you guys are maybe equally experienced. Is that different than other pairings? Maybe with others you feel like you have to be the senior guy, the leader, taking that role. Is there like a comfort with you guys where you don’t have to worry about that so much?

Rohan Bopanna: I think it depends on the day, to be honest. I think some days, you know, whether Matt is feeling much better on the court or me. But the days we both are feeling good and with our experience, I think it really puts a lot of pressure on the teams.

And today we had to really adjust, especially on one side, there was the sun, so it is not easy to serve. So that’s where I think the experience comes into play for, making that first serve, bringing the partner in, in net in play. And he also understands those situations.

And I think yeah, playing a lot of matches with different partners kind of really brings in your strengths and your weaknesses and puts it together. We combine well that way and constantly try and find ways to hang in there in tough close matches. Especially the last time at Wimbledon. We were really hanging in close, close matches there, and I think it has paid off.

Matt Ebden: Yeah, the experience. Not just the experience, but playing together – same partner – building that partnership. You go through months and months and – not hundreds of matches – but tens of matches together and you’re always learning tiny little things about each other, about yourself in the partnership. How it works, how it doesn’t work, what works best.

And all those little little things can pay off. Yeah, it’s good, we just keep on building all that stuff and days like today are a bonus. Two sets, quick, and get in. Get it done, and yeah, look forward to the next one.

Ashish Malhotra: Rohan, last question. I spoke to Saki and Yuki after their matches. Obviously they both lost, but they’re at this phase of their career where they’re trying to play consistently in the main draws of slams like you’ve been doing for a long time. Is there any particular advice that you give them? Beyond just the general stuff of “keep working at it. Is there any mental stuff that is particularly key that you think is good advice?

Matt Ebden: Hang on, hang on. You can’t help them too much. They’re our opponents every other week. (laughter). It’s fine to help but tomorrow we might play them! (more laughter)

Rohan Bopanna: I think the biggest key for them is this year that they’ve qualified to all the Grand Slams. I think it makes a huge difference just to understand the hard work they’ve put in to get to a bigger stage like this.

The format of scoring system and point system we have in the ATP…Grand Slams are the place to really. You need to make that breakthrough. I remember back in 2010 when I was playing with Aisam Qureshi, we made quarterfinals at Wimbledon, finals at the US Open. And that’s the kind of the  breakthrough which happens and then you start sustaining it.

Right now they have made that breakthrough of getting in comfortably with the Grand Slams. So I think now they need to just really believe they belong there. And I think that is what is going to start making that difference.

Because they know how to really play at this level. They’ve played with all different players, practiced with top players. So now they just need to, I think, believe in themselves that they belong in this. And then I think that’s the step. If  they focus just on themselves, it’s going to make that difference.

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