India’s tennis stalwart Rohan Bopanna became the oldest first-time world no. 1 in the history of the sport as he and partner Matthew Ebden qualified for the Australian Open 2024 men’s doubles semi-final. Bopanna entered the tournament with a career-high ranking of world no. 3 and will now be elevated to the top spot when the rankings are revised on Monday after the Australian Open’s conclusion. Bopanna and Ebden defeated Argentina’s Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni in the quarterfinals. After securing the world no. 1 spot, Bopanna said that “India and Indian tennis needed this”.
“First of all, Thank you so much, it’s been an incredible 20 years playing this tournament week in, week out, and today, reaching the No. 1 ranking, it’s an extremely amazing and proud feeling. It probably hasn’t sunk in fully yet but still credit to the entire team, especially, the family, coach, physio, and everyone behind the scenes who play such a hugely important role and always keep me positive,” he said after the quarter-final match. And of course, my partner Matt Ebden,” he said.
Bopanna thanked fans for their amazing support over the last 20 overs, having secured a spot in the Australian Open men’s doubles semi-finals for the first time in 17 attempts. The achievement, Bopanna said, was his way of giving back.
“These last 13 months have been an incredibly consistent kind of a year. I am proud to be where I am today, at the ranking of no. 1. So, India needed this, Indian tennis needed this. I am really happy to be representing India across the world in this tennis journey. There’s so much love and support from the entire country for two decades. I am thankful for all the support. I think, this is from my side, giving back to everyone in India. Thank you,” he concluded.
Bopanna and Ebden will now square off against China’s Zhizhen Zhang and Czech Republic’s Tomas Machac in the semi-finals on Thursday to confirm their place in the final.