'Indo-Pak Express' aiming for No.1 spot

Reaching the US Open doubles final last week rocketed the India-Pakistan pairing to No.6 on the ATP tour and Bopanna felt that the top position, currently occupied by the American twins, Bob and Mike Bryan to whom they lost in the title round in two tie-breaks, is within their reach.

"Why not? We are number six in the world now. As a team, we can definitely take a shot at world number one. If it does not happen this year, perhaps it could happen in the next season. I do not see why we cannot get there," said Bopanna at a media conference here Monday soon after his practice session for this weekend’s Davis Cup tie against Brazil.

The Bopanna-Qureshi tandem, quite predictably, evoked mixed reactions on either side of the border, but the duo, with two ATP titles in the kitty, stood up for one another, and both signed up as brand ambassadors for a peace initiative.
The 30-year-old Bangalore-born Bopanna said his teaming up with Qureshi had neither political motive or implications and rather, it was born out of friendship that spanned nearly 15 years.

"We are just there to play tennis. We are trying to help each other in our respective careers. Since we are brand ambassadors for Peace, we develop peace through sports.
"We are not looking at it in any political way. There are so many major issues compared to do that (playing tennis together) and we are not trying to do that at all. 

"It does not seem like he is from Pakistan to me and he is a great friend on the court. He had no options and he has been playing with many Indians all through his career. For me, we have been doing well together and that is about it," Bopanna asserted.

Reflecting on the US Open and the current year, Bopanna said their performances in the lead-up to the Grand Slam event gave a lot of confidence to the two of them.
"Our energy levels were up and the key was successes with first serves. The final was close and on few points the Bryans played much better than us.

"Mainly, we believed in ourselves and we take positives in our stride and move on. It is tough to adjust to different surfaces, but we were used to it, having played on different surfaces before coming to the US Open," he said.

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