'It's been an amazing run'

'It's been an amazing run'

It took Rohan Bopanna nearly seven years to make his second final in a Major, and he made sure it was worth the long wait.

With his French Open mixed doubles triumph along with Gabriela Dabrowski, Bopanna has now become the fourth Indian to win a Grand Slam. He is also the fourth Indian after Leander Paes (10 slams in doubles and mixed), Mahesh Bhupathi (8) and Sania Mirza (3) to have won a Grand Slam in mixed doubles. Last year the French Open mixed doubles title was clinched by Leander and Martina Hingis.

For Bopanna, a seasoned Davis Cupper for India, with a career best ranking of World No 3 in doubles, a Grand Slam title was long overdue.

“It’s truly special. As an athlete, when you start playing tennis, you want to win a Grand Slam,” Bopanna, who was appearing in only his second Grand Slam final, told the French Open website.

He had reached his first Grand Slam final at the 2010 US Open men’s doubles with Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq-Qureshi where the two lost to the Bryan twins — Bob and Mike.

"You never know where the journey is going to take you — it feels amazing."

Bopanna believed his chemistry with Dabrowski, who became the first Canadian woman to win the Grand Slam title, made the difference. The two forged a partnership in New York last September, and were appearing in their third Grand Slam together. Coming into the final here, they had beaten the likes of Sania Mirza/Ivan Dodig and third seeds Andrea Hlavackova/Edouard Roger-Vasselin.

“I think that's what makes a difference, when you play with partners regularly at Slams, you get to understand each other. I think that helped us also today coming through those close matches. You end up trusting your partner. You know what the strengths of your partner.”

Bopanna and Dabrowski, seeded seventh, were broken thrice in the second set. It was only then the two regrouped and turned the match on its head in a stunning fashion.

“I think we relaxed a little more in the second set, and we started playing our game. I think we were trying to do too much as a team,” said Bopanna. “Just because it was a final, we were trying to go for too much maybe on the returns or even on the serve, for me.

“After that first set we just stuck to what we do best. We started pushing each other, motivating each other. I think that's what made the difference. Once the nerves calmed down, we played better tennis.”

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