Indian tennis star Rohan Bopanna on Monday climbed to World No. 1 in the doubles rankings for the first time after winning the Australian Open with Matthew Ebden, as ATP announced for the latest doubles rankings. At the age of 43, Bopanna became the oldest first-time World No. 1 and the third Indian to achieve the milestone (after Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, with whom he won two titles). “India needed this. We don’t really have many tennis players coming up,” said Bopanna as quoted by ATP. “Sport is slowly coming up. I think it’s just going to inspire a lot of people. I don’t think just in tennis. People all over the world, being 40 and above, I think it’s just going to inspire them in a different way,” he added.
Bopanna won his first men’s doubles Grand Slam at the Australian Open 2024 on Saturday, moving up two positions in the ATP Rankings.
He began the season’s first major tied for third place, a position he had previously held in 2013. Bopanna and Ebden overcame Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni in the quarter-finals, ensuring the Indian’s ascension to World No. 1, despite facing challenges along the way.
“For me to get to World No. 1, I think [is thanks to] my perseverance to the sport, to stay in it and to keep fighting and to keep working hard and have such a great partner by my side. I think the consistent year we had last year is why this helped me get to this stage,” Bopanna said.
Bopanna has had a great association with Ebden, which began at the start of the 2023 season.
In their debut year together, they qualified for the coveted ATP Finals, with Bopanna making his fourth participation and Ebden making his first.
“In hindsight, it would have been amazing if we would have played for a long period of time, but still, we are enjoying where we are today, and I think there are no real complaints on that. You grow as a team. I think we have also learned from each other, what works for us, what our strengths are, and how we can improve,” the Indian said.
Bopanna and Ebden have the same number of ATP Doubles Rankings points, but the Indian is at the top since he played three fewer tournaments to gain them. Ebden complimented his companion on their success.
“It was a big goal of ours when we started this partnership over a year ago and we talked about it. We made our intentions clear, ‘I want to get to World No. 1, win the Slams, the big tournaments.’ We have ticked a lot of boxes the last year and this is another one of those. A huge milestone. It’s an incredible thing for Bops, especially at his age,” Ebden said.