Matthew Ebden was a top-40 singles player, but is now more familiar now as the Wimbledon doubles champion with Max Purcell. As brand ambassador for the Tennis Premier League to be staged in Pune, the 34-year-old said that he would do his best to bring the world to India, as he spoke to The Hindu from his home in Perth on Tuesday.
A big fan of Leander Paes, and friend of other Indian tennis players, Ebden loves India. He has visited the country many times, competed in many cities, and won the singles medal in the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010.
Quite proud about his success with Aussie teammates, Samantha Stosur, ‘’a legend with Grand Slam wins in singles, doubles and mixed doubles’’ and Purcell, Ebden pointed out that he has had success with foreign partners as well, including Paes.
Learnt so much from Leander Paes
‘’I have been in touch with Leander for many years. I always wanted to play with him before he stopped playing. We had played in Dubai, Pune, and Bengaluru before Covid-19 stopped everything. I learnt so much from him, and inspired so much, especially in doubles. Even now, he has been messaging me through Wimbledon, and cheering me. He wants the best for me,’’ said Ebden.
He was particularly impressed with Paes’s ‘’guile, and mysterious ways, of backing himself, and finding a way to win’’.
As far as India is concerned, Ebden is touched by the warmth, friendly and caring nature of the Indian players and people.
‘’India is such a vast country and has tremendous potential to develop in the game of tennis. I like the ’can do attitude’ of Indian people. No matter the rules, regulations, they always find a way to do things that need to be done,’’ said Ebden.
To do his best as ambassador for TPL
The season may be long, but Ebden said that he was happy to play the TPL in December. He felt it was natural for him — having played World Tennis Tour, Davis Cup, Hopman Cup ‘’and hopefully ATP Cup in future’’ — to not only play in the league, but also do his best as the ambassador to make it a global success.
Ebden said that he was happy to be in Nick Kyrgios’s guest box to support him in the Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic.
‘’I don’t agree with a lot of things he does, but he is his own person. In Melbourne, we were confident of winning the Australian Open doubles final, but they served unbelievable and incredible,’’ recalled Ebden, about the Australian Open doubles final against Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
Advice from Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde
Pointing out that his natural style helped him be successful in doubles, Ebden said that he had great advice from Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde. That is to play as much doubles as possible, and to work on one’s serve, returns, and volleys.
Gauging his calibre as a top-10 singles player as he had beaten top-10 players in Grand Slams and other big events, Ebden said that it was not easy to do that every match, week after week, for years.
‘’Tennis is incredibly competitive. To get your first ATP point, to be ranked 2000 is incredibly hard. We are in the top-8 of the doubles race. I am doing my best,’’ he added.