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Bopanna wins Australian Open doubles title, will climb to No. 1 in the world with Ebden

Rohan Bopanna continues to turn back the clock.

At 41 years old in April of 2021, Bopanna considered retirement following his first-round exit from the ATP 250 in Estoril. He had lost seven matches in a row to begin the season, doing so with six different partners. It would have signaled the end of an illustrious doubles career that included a major mixed title at Roland Garros in 2017 but no slam win in men’s.

Safe to say that it’s a good thing Bopanna decided not to hang ’em up.

Putting the exclamation point on a career resurgence well into his 40s, the 43-year-old Bopanna won his first Grand Slam title in men’s doubles when he and Matthew Ebden beat Simone Bolelli and Matthew Ebden 7-6(0), 7-5 in the championship match of the Australian Open on Saturday.

And it certainly isn’t some kind of one-off fluke, either. In fact, Bopanna has been so good over the last 12 months that he and Ebden will climb to No. 1 in the world rankings on Monday.

“What an amazing tournament,” Ebden commented. “Thanks to my amazing partner. He is 43 years old; this is his first men’s Grand Slam doubles title. Age is not a number for this guy; he is young at heart. He is a champion and a warrior. He has fought hard alongside me the past year and I am forever grateful to him.”

For Bopanna and Ebden, last year was highlighted by a semifinal result at Wimbledon and a runner-up showing at the U.S. Open (lost to Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram in a three-setter). It was the Indian’s second Grand Slam final loss in men’s doubles (previously 2010 U.S. Open) and heading into this Aussie Open he had advanced to semifinals a total of seven times in addition to quarters seven other times.

Now, Rohan Bopanna has finally gotten over the hump.

“For me, without a doubt (it’s) the best moment in my career,” he said at his post-match press conference. “I mean, there is so many–so many–thoughts which are running…the head is like as if it’s ready to explode.

“The No. 1 thought which comes to my head is to not really have limitations. We set ourselves those limitations. You know, as human beings, we have goals. Then when we don’t achieve that quickly or at a time frame, we think that’s the end of that journey…. I had thoughts of quitting and stopping. But to just persevere and enjoy what I was doing I think (is) the best thing I told myself.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.