Indian tennis star Rohan Bopanna (Photo: AFP)
Fresh from winning the maiden Grand Slam title of his career at the French Open, Indian tennis star Rohan Bopanna asserted on Saturday that he is in the best form of his life at the moment.
"At the start of the year, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and I won the Chennai Open. Then, Marcin (Matkowski) and I reached the Dubai Open final. In April, Pablo Cuevas and I took the Monte Carlo Masters title. So I've played with three different players this year. I've had to adapt to their styles, and I've had to figure out a way to use our combined strengths to get good results," Bopanna told the media here.
"This is the main reason why I feel that I'm now playing the best tennis of my career. Every time I step on to the court, I feel like I can win. This level of confidence is something new for me."
Indian star Rohan Bopanna and his Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski on Thursday won a tough three-set battle to clinch the mixed doubles title at the French Open tennis tournament.
The seventh seeded Indo-Canadian combination overcame the unseeded pair of Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Robert Farah of Colombia 2-6, 6-2, 12-10 in 56 minutes.
Bopanna is the fourth Indian to win a Grand Slam title after Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza.
Bopanna is also the fourth Indian to become mixed doubles champion at the French Open. Bhupathi was the first — he won the title with Rika Hiraki of Japan in 1997.
Dabrowski also created history on Thursday as she became the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam title.
Bopanna also featured in the final of a Grand Slam tournament after a gap of seven years.
He qualified for the Grand Slam final of his career in 2010 when he and Pakistan's Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi entered the title clash of the US open.
However, the Bengaluru lad asserted that he has learnt from his long experience and was better this time than the US Open of 2010.
"I felt no nerves at all this time around. All the experience gained over the years meant that I was much better prepared now than I was in 2010," Bopanna said.
Reflecting on his career, the 37-year-old asserted that his attitude of never giving up has been his strongest trait over the years.
"Winning my maiden Grand Slam title, 14 years after turning professional: I have never given up on anything — this is my strength. I constantly keep doing the right things, irrespective of the result. When I was a junior, I had lost a lot of tournaments in the early rounds. I wasn't discouraged, and I just continued to work really hard," Bopanna said.
"I carried this same attitude into my professional career. I don't have any regrets about not winning a Grand Slam title for the first 14 years of my career. The things I've learnt over the years have made me a better player."
Talking about being nominated for the Arjuna Award, Bopanna said: "Arjuna Award recommendation: I'm very, very happy. The AITA had nominated me in 2014 and 2015 as well, but I didn't get the nod. We have to wait and see what happens this year."
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