'Challenge was to find right partner'

'Challenge was to find right partner'

Good times : CM awards Rs 10 lakh to Bopanna

'Challenge was to find right partner'

Basking in his French Open triumph, India’s Rohan Bopanna said he is enjoying one of his best seasons in recent times but the toughest challenge, the seasoned player claimed, for him was to find the right partner in both the doubles’ categories.

The 37-year-old, who clinched the mixed doubles crown at the Roland Garros with Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski last week, is targetting a strong show at Wimbledon next month and Bopanna feels he has found ideal partners for both doubles and mixed doubles competitions.

“The biggest challenge for me was to find the right partner this season, especially in the men’s doubles. Fortunately, I have played alongside good partners so far and managed to win tournaments. I started with Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan to win the Chennai Open and then reached the semifinals with Martin Matkowski at the Dubai Open. In April, I won the Monte Carlo Masters with Pablo Cuevas. Now I am continuing with Cuevas. It’s ideal to have one fixed partner. I have managed to adapt well with different partners and that is the main reason behind my good run this season,” Bopanna told DH on Tuesday.

The state government felicitated Bopanna for his maiden Grand Slam here on Tuesday and announced a prize money of Rs 10 lakh.

“I thank the support and encouragement from the government. The response post my win at the French Open has been overwhelming. I received congratulatory calls from our Davis Cup captain Mahesh (Bhupathi), Sania (Mirza) and many other athletes of the country and I am humbled by their support,” he expressed. It’s been a year since he started the Rohan Bopanna Tennis Academy and the Indian ace has chalked out big plans for the coming years.

“We have around 65 players at the academy and we will be bringing two foreign coaches very soon. One of the coaches will be from Serbia and both of them will stay in Bengaluru to train the kids. This is just a start and we are hoping to build on this and offer training facilities of international standards,” he explained. 

The Kodava is confident of repeating his French Open performance at the Wimbledon with Dabrowski. “She is an aggressive player and that works in the doubles format. We started off with the US Open and her style worked well in the Australian Open as well. Our camaraderie was good going into French Open,” he noted.