Tennis

Australian Open: Bopanna to pair with Sania

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Groundwork for a better Olympics showing on in full swing

Former World No. 3 Rohan Bopanna is all set to join hands with six-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 doubles star Sania Mirza at the Australian Open.

After coming close to a medal at the Rio Olympics, when Sania and Bopanna were up a set in the semifinals against Venus Williams and Rajeev Ram, the resolve is to do better at Tokyo.

Fine start

And, Bopanna has made a fine start to the year. Winning a title in the first tournament of the season is not a new experience for Bopanna, but the win this time in Doha, partnering Wesley Koolhof, on Friday was special as it was the first time his seven-month daughter Tridha was in ‘attendance’.

[However, Bopanna’s wife Supriya had to watch from the staircase as children below two years are not allowed inside the stadium.]

That apart, the 39-year-old Bopanna was much relieved that the therapy injections he has had have improved the condition of his knees.

“The first thing I did after winning the title was call Dr. Madan Ballal in Bengaluru. He told me that my determination to get better had also helped in the cure,” said Bopanna, on a brief stop at his home on Saturday before flying to Auckland, where he will partner Henri Kontinen of Finland.

“It was the first time I was playing a match alongside Koolhof, but I had practised with him a lot. We got together because his regular partner, Robin Haase, was playing in the ATP Cup. Also, I could get entry because of his No. 18 rank,” he said.

Even though he would love to partner Divij Sharan in the run-up to the Olympics, Bopanna said he had to be practical and ensure entry by playing big events with better ranked players.

“The goal is to make the cut for the Olympics individually. After that, Divij and I can play the grass-court circuit,” said Bopanna.

New partner

With his regular partner on the Tour, Denis Shapovalov of Canada opting to skip the doubles at the Australian Open, Bopanna has tied up with Yasutaka Uchiyama of Japan, who won the Asian Games singles bronze and the doubles title in the ATP-500 Tokyo Open.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 1:23:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/bopanna-to-pair-with-sania-at-oz-open/article30545549.ece

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