Rohan Bopanna of India and Matthew Ebden of Australia celebrate with the winners trophy after defeating Wesley Koolhof of Netherlands and Neal Skupski of Great Britain. — AFP
Coffee connoisseur Rohan Bopanna credited the special Indian blends he consumes on Tour for his success after the 43-year-old became the oldest ATP Masters 1000 champion by winning the men’s doubles title at the Indian Wells Masters on Saturday.
Bopanna and his playing partner Matthew Ebden of Australia beat the top-ranked pair of Dutchman Wesley Koolhof and Briton Neal Skupski 6-3 2-6 10-8 to claim their second title together and first of the season.
“Truly special. It’s called Tennis Paradise for a reason. I’ve been coming here over the years and seeing all these guys win and I’m really happy that Matt and I were able to do this and get this title here,” Bopanna said.
“There have been some tough matches, close matches and today we played against one of the best teams out there, so I’m really happy we got the title.”
Former doubles world number three Bopanna, whose family owns a coffee plantation in Coorg district in the south Indian state of Karnataka, said the drink was the secret of his success.
“It’s the Indian coffee that I keep having when travelling. That’s the secret. The biggest thing is to make sure you recover well after matches and that’s really helped me,” Bopanna said.
Bopanna beat the record held by former partner Daniel Nestor and said taking care of his body had paid off.
“That’s the most important part, especially when you’re getting older. Some days I tell Matt I maybe just practised 20 minutes, but I’d rather rest the body and be ready for our matches,” Bopanna said.
“That’s really been the key. I spoke to Danny and told him ‘sorry, I’m going to beat your record’. Being in the final I was already the oldest and winning the final that stays with me. Really happy with that.”
Indian doubles great Mahesh Bhupathi hailed former playing partner Bopanna’s longevity and ability to peak late in his career.
“Bring it home Bofors,” Bhupathi tweeted, alluding to the nickname Bopanna has earned because of his booming serve.
“Bofors gone where no Indian man has gone before … The distance in the desert! Keep climbing.”
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