“I can’t. I can’t move towards winning. I keep losing. I’m going to stop playing tennis.” – This is the video that Rohan Bopanna sent to his wife Supriya in agony.
Days go by. Time heals all. Today, Bopanna stands majestically after winning the Australian Open along with her Australian counterpart. Also, he is the world’s number 1 tennis player in doubles till date. A few days ago, the central government had also announced the Padma Shri award to him. At the age of 43, Bopanna has overcome all the hardships and become an inspiration to all.
“Your moment can come at any time. Take Bopanna as an example. At the age of 43, on a big stage like the Australian Open,” said Italy’s Simone-Vavasori in the Australian Open final after beating Bopanna-Matthew Epton 7-6 (7-0), 7-5. He has achieved it. Keep practicing. Keep dreaming. Be ready for anything. Be amazing when your time comes!” As Sachin has written about Bopanna.
There is no exaggeration in Sachin’s words. Every word he has used has perfectly explained Bopanna’s pain and struggle. Apart from Bopanna, only three players namely Leander Paes, Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza have won the Grand Slam title from India.
Leander Bias has won the most Grand Slam titles for India. He has also won a medal at the Olympics to go with the Grand Slam. If you ask him, he says that the environment for tennis in India has not yet developed.
In a recent interview he said, “Just take Mumbai in India. No, just take Matunga. Count how many cricket training centers there are. I’m sure, it’s more than the number of tennis training centers in the whole of India. We’re all about identifying the talent that’s hidden at the grassroots level.” “I didn’t do it,” he said with pain.
Payazoo has 30 years of tennis experience. Nothing has changed here in these 30 years. The focus on the game is the same now as it was then. Rohan Bopanna also grew up in this environment as a seed and struggled. He started playing tennis in the early 2000s. Sania has played many matches alongside Mirza. Along with Pakistan’s Qureshi, he has played so well that he was named ‘Indo-Pakistan Express’. Mahesh Bhupathi has also joined the alliance. But it took more than 15 years for him to win his first Grand Slam title.
He won his first Grand Slam title in 2017 when he was approaching 40 years of age. At the French Open, she had partnered Canada with Gabriella Dabrowski to achieve the feat. It’s getting old. He is at the end of his career. Everyone had the thought that they had just won a Grand Slam title. After that 2017, Rohan Bopanna also had some slip-ups. Both his knees were severely bruised. He continued to suffer from fractures and sprains.
“I didn’t know what to do at that time. I took two or three painkiller injections a day. My body was not under my control. I lost my fitness. That’s when the corona virus started spreading,” he described his pain.
Just as the world started to recover from the Corona struggle, Bopanna also started to recover and run. He made it to the finals of the 2023 US Open alongside fellow Australian Epton. She also played in the final of Sania Mirza’s farewell match at the Australian Open of the same year. Although he often came close to the finish line, he could not successfully cross it. But he did not rest. Even at the age of 43, he continued to play well without giving up. He also registered his 500th career win at the same Australian Open. Moved to World No. 1 in doubles. Everyone started looking at Bopanna as a pioneer.
“Congratulations on becoming the number 1 player at such a young age!” As Djokovic sent hearts flying on Insta. Many saw Bopanna’s victory as their victory and the inspiration for their journey and struggle.
Bopanna himself said that his success would be an inspiration to many beyond tennis. As you keep digging, you will find gold somewhere. Bopanna got that gold in the Australian Open. He has achieved the rare feat of being the oldest player to win a Grand Slam.
“Don’t rush into anything. There is no deadline here. We define our own restrictions. Love what you love and do it. This is the message I want to convey to you. Never give up and always fight,” said Bopanna after winning the Australian Open.
Every moment of life is a lesson for us. Bopanna is a great example that no matter how hard you fall, you can get back up.