Thank you, says Rohan Bopanna as he signs off from Davis Cup
The elder statesman of Indian tennis will take a short break before hitting the road for the 2023 Asian Games
It was an emotional Rohan Bopanna bidding adieu to the David Cup arena, after a career in the team event spanning over 21 years, at the Vijayant Khand Mini Stadium in Gomti Nagar, Lucknow on Sunday.
There was no twist in the tale as the 43-year-old, who became the oldest player to reach the final of any slam event at the US Open earlier this month, combined with Yuki Bhambri to sweep aside the Moroccan pair of Elliot Benchetrit and Younes Lalami Laaroussi in their World Group II tie on Sunday, 17 September.
“Sad to be leaving the Davis Cup, but also simultaneously proud to have played for such a long time. I thank the entire nation for the support and all the teammates, the captain I have played under. It’s been a great journey, a great learning experience,” Bopanna said during the post-match press conference.
The elder statesman of the Indian team after the Paes-Bhupathi generation, however, is not going anywhere in a hurry. He is very much a part of India’s doubles plan at the Asian Games in Hangzhou as he said: “Couple of days at home and I will be right back on the road. Tennis is a very busy schedule, coming from New York and then back to China so it’s a lot of travel. I am going on a high. With a week of practice before we go to Hangzhou [for the Asian Games],” he said.
Rohit Rajpal, India’s non-playing captain in the Davis Cup who is also an executive committee member of the Indian Olympic Association, said Bopanna will be missed. “For any captain, when you have a player like Rohan Bopanna, a towering figure, there’s always a fight about who wants to play with him. All of them want to play doubles with him,” Rajpal commented.
“The whole team is in shock at his decision of not wanting to continue. But certainly, he’s passed on great knowledge to Yuki (Bhambri) and Ram (Ramanathan Ramkumar). We will continue to take his guidance and benefit from it,” he added.
Rajpal felt Indian doubles players have always left a legacy behind, but it’s the singles that needs to be the focus.
The victory over Morocco means India will now play in the World Group I play-off in 2024.