Rohan Bopanna's Farewell Triumph in Davis Cup: India Secures World Group I Play-offs
Rohan Bopanna ends his 21-year Davis Cup journey with a stellar doubles victory, leading India to a 4-1 win against Morocco.
NEW DELHI: In a momentous and emotional swansong at the Davis Cup, Indian tennis legend Rohan Bopanna bid adieu to a remarkable 21-year-long journey in style. The tennis maestro, alongside his partner Yuki Bhambri, clinched a resounding victory in doubles at the Mini Stadium in Lucknow, leaving a lasting legacy in the annals of Indian tennis history. The crowd erupted with chants of 'Chak de!' as Bopanna sealed his final Davis Cup appearance with a triumphant performance.
Bopanna's sensational doubles win was pivotal in India's comprehensive 4-1 victory over Morocco, propelling them into the World Group I play-offs. The formidable Indian duo of Bopanna and Bhambri displayed their prowess, dispatching Morocco's Elliot Benchetrit and Younes Laaroussi in straight sets with a commanding scoreline of 6-2, 6-1, all accomplished in a mere one hour and eleven minutes. The 43-year-old tennis stalwart fittingly earned the last point, executing a delicate volley close to the net that left Benchetrit helpless as the ball found the net.
Following this exhilarating contest, India's top-ranked singles player, Sumit Nagal, and debutant Digvijay Pratap Singh continued the Indian onslaught, securing victories that solidified India's triumph in the World Group II tie against Morocco. With this resounding win, India not only bid farewell to a legend but also surged into the highly coveted World Group I play-offs.
Despite not getting the opportunity to play in his hometown of Bengaluru, Bopanna expressed that Lucknow felt like home during his final appearance in the tournament. Overwhelmed by the support from his family, friends, and fervent fans, Bopanna couldn't contain his emotions. In a heartfelt statement, he shared, "It felt like home today as everyone is here to support me. My family, friends, and even fans, everyone cheered for me. It’s an emotional moment for me, I can’t forget this day ever. It’s been a long and fantastic journey in the Davis Cup after playing my first match in 2002. I always tried to give the best for my country. Playing for India has always been the biggest moment of my career.”
As a poignant farewell gesture, Bopanna draped the Indian tricolor around his shoulders and then laid his shirt on the tennis court, symbolizing the conclusion of an illustrious era. Reflecting on his decision to retire, he added, "The time has come when I need to vacate the seat for someone new. There are many youngsters who are ready to grab the spot. For sure, I am going to miss this all, but at the same time, it will also allow me to spend quality time with family."
In a fitting tribute to Bopanna's legacy, Sumit Nagal continued India's dominance by defeating Yassine Dlimi in the first reverse singles game with a score of 6-3, 6-3, cementing India's unassailable 3-1 lead. The tie was eventually sealed when Digvijay Pratap Singh, in his debut appearance, displayed his mettle by winning the dead rubber with a score of 6-1, 5-7, 10-6 against Walid Ahouda.
Rohan Bopanna's remarkable farewell performance not only secured India's victory but also etched his name in the annals of Indian tennis as a true legend. His contribution to the Davis Cup and Indian tennis as a whole will always be remembered with reverence and admiration.