MELBOURNE: Indian tennis sensation Rohan Bopanna has scripted history by becoming the oldest man to win a grand slam after clinching the Australian Open 2024 men’s doubles title, pairing with Matthew Ebden.
Bopanna, who turns 44 in March this year, also unlocked a new milestone by becoming the oldest World Number One in men’s doubles history by winning the title in Melbourne on Saturday, thereby making India proud.
The second seeds sealed a narrow victory over the unseeded Italian pair of Simone Bolleli and Andrea Vavassori on Rod Laver Arena, winning it 7-6 (7-0), 7-5.
This triumph happened to be their maiden title as a pair and Bopanna’s first in men’s doubles after 60 previous Grand Slams - a record for most attempts before winning. The big server also became only the third Indian to win a men’s doubles Grand Slam title.
Bopanna and Ebden got the better of their opponents in a closely contested high quality encounter that lasted for one hour and 39 minutes.
Prior to this victory, only the legendary Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi had won major silverware for India in men’s tennis while the trailblazer Sania Mirza did it in women’s tennis.
As far as Bopanna is concerned, this is his second grand slam title, having bagged the French Open mixed doubles crown with Canada’s Gabriela Dabrowski back in 2017.
At 43 years of age, Bopanna also became the oldest Grand Slam champion in men’s tennis, breaking the record of Jean-Julien Rojer who, at the age of 40, had been crowned as the French Open men’s doubles champion in 2022 alongside Marcelo Arevola.
The final was a hard-fought battle at the Rod Laver Arena so much so that the contest featured only one break of serve when Vavassori dropped his serve at love in game 11 of the second set. There were not many break points on offer either.