Rohan Bopanna and Matt Ebden continued their stellar 2023 season, as they entered the semi-final of the Rolex Paris Masters, their 4th Masters final of the season. They beat the tricky pair of Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in quick fashion, winning 6-3, 6-2. The pair had lost to them recently in the Shanghai Masters final, and also in the Toronto Masters a couple of months back.
The pair caught up with Vatsal Madhup Tolasaria after the match to share their thoughts:
Q) First of all, great match. It was quick, as comfortable as it gets at this level. Your thoughts on the match?
RB – I think we played extremely well. Any time, you know, in a doubles match, when both of us are syncing well into the match and playing aggressive, good tennis, I think there’s chances of us running through a match like that.
I think we were solid in every single department today and we put a lot of pressure right from the beginning on the service games. And in our service games, we mixed a lot and played to our strengths and that’s, I think, what really helped us today.
ME – Yeah, he said solid in every department. I would say very, very good in every department. I think that’s one of the best matches we’ve played. Execution was good from both of us. And I think when we both play really well, we’re incredibly tough to play against. Those are the matches that we put all the work and aim to play every time. It doesn’t always happen that well, but that’s the aim and that’s close to as good as it gets.
Q) And you guys played them twice, once in Toronto, the other time in Shanghai recently. Both of them were super tie breaks, really close matches you lost. Did you come in with a special strategy to turn it around or like learn from those two matches?
RB – I think yes and no, but I think we always are learning with these matches when we’re playing, trying to find ways to figure out what works and what doesn’t work.
Those two matches, when it goes to the super tie break, both are equally as close. I mean, yes, they didn’t go our way, but I think even those two matches, we were pretty much there. Especially the Toronto one.
I think we’re 8-6 serving, maybe. So, you know, those matches, we definitely learned quite a bit on what we could change and the conditions definitely quicker here, indoors, a little bit different. So, I think we made sure that we were able to get the ball back in the right place. that we focused on our service games and ourselves before we started working on trying different strategies.
Q) There’s a lot of talk around the courts being slow. So it’s surprising to hear that you’re saying that it’s fast.
ME – For me, court one and two are quite fast. Faster than last year and faster than for me, I’m playing singles here for 10 years, much faster than any other year.
I have a feeling maybe center court, watching on TV, the points look a bit slower and longer. So maybe there is some difference from center court to court one and two because court one and two seems reasonably fast.
RB – But also you should take into account singles and doubles. Of course. All together, even a slow court, when you play doubles, it can look fast. Points are short, points can be quick, so you can’t really compare to that.
ME – But I think going by last year to this year, one and two definitely are faster than what it has been. I think also, we hit the ball a lot harder than the singles guys. We serve much bigger. We hit the ball a lot harder and it’s much bigger. I’m just kidding (laughs)
Q) So you’re going to play against either Dodig/Krajicek or Heliovaara/Pavic, either of them. Any thoughts on that match?
RB – We will just enjoy today first. One team we have played them many times (Dodig/Krajicek), whether together or with different partners.
But the other team is a brand new team, so nobody really knows. So we have to sit and figure out that. So it’s good to finish the match and now get some time to watch that other match and figure it out.
Q) Matty, you’ve qualified for Turin for the first time, the World Tour Finals. What are your thoughts? How are you looking at it?
ME – Yeah, I think it’s great. I think we’ve achieved most of the things we set out this year. We’ve been a couple of points from achieving everything so far. We want to get to the top and win the biggest trophies. So we have the chance here in Paris and in Turin. And there’s still a lot of points on the line in the next few weeks.
So that’s great. I think it’s great. And I think you know, Bops said we’re learning continually through the whole year and I think also improving. Learning and improving. Because I think today was an improvement.
We’re playing even better than we’ve played the last few weeks, the last few months. So it’s good signs. Very encouraging. Heading into the finals weekend here in Paris and heading into Turin and even to Malaga and into next year.
So it’s all really good signs for us.