What keeps Rohan Bopanna ticking as 44-year-old becomes oldest World No. 1 doubles player?

Posted by

New Delhi: Being the third generation owner of a coffee estate in Coorg, Rohan Bopanna’s love for the hot beverage possibly precedes his love for tennis. Together with coffee, yoga, coconut water and banana, the 44-year-old has produced a heady cocktail that has let him run on the court like spring chicken to become the oldest player to become World No.1 in men’s doubles rankings.

Winning the Miami Open along with his Australian partner Matt Ebden with a 6-7(3), 6-3, 10-6 victory over Croatia’s Ivan Dodig and American Austin Krajicek helped him reclaim the top spot that he had grabbed after winning the Australian Open in January.

His latest victory bettered his own record of being the oldest ATP Masters 1000 champion and made him the second Indian after Leander Paes to reach the final of all nine ATP Masters events.

It’s hard to believe that the same man considered quitting in 2019, a year before turning 40, as the physicality of the sport was taking a toll on his body with injections not quite having the desired effect.

A suggestion from his cousin’s sister of trying Iyengar yoga couldn’t have come at a better time that has turned his life around and made him last gruelling battles and retrieve balls from anywhere on the court.

No painkillers anymore

“This kind of yoga specifically uses a lot of props in terms of ropes, chairs, tables,” Bopanna had told usopen.org in September last year.

“The instructors also studied the way I function and move on the tennis court. It really helped me build strength on my quads and glutes, and for those four months during the pandemic, gave me some time to really focus on that. That changed a lot. I was doing 90 minute sessions, four times a week of just Iyengar yoga.”

Soon he went from two, three painkillers a day to no painkillers as it had strengthened his quads, hamstrings and glutes,” Bopanna said, adding that it helped in alignment of his back and made him calmer mentally.

The perfect backhand return 😍 @rohanbopanna @MiamiOpen | #MiamiOpen pic.twitter.com/dFalcE2BUF

— ATP Tour (@atptour) March 30, 2024

Touring throughout the year on the ATP circuit prevents him from having his preferred idli, sambar, he indulges in them when he return to his home in Bengaluru.

“For me, what really works is coconut water and banana during matches. That is as simple as that. Plain water, coconut water and banana. That is all I need. It keeps me going no matter how long I’m there on the court,” the Padma Shri recipient told CNN-News 18 in February.

Beginning the day with coffee from beans he carries in loads and distributes it among his fellow players, a simple breakfast is all he wants while travelling, which usually has a lot of fruits, eggs, followed by white rice with salmon, white rice with olive oil, and either salmon or chicken before matches.

Accompanied this food habit are 10-minute meditation sessions, 10-15 power naps before matches and ice baths after it, helping him recover from on-court toils.

“As long as I’m in with a chance of winning tournaments I’m happy to keep on playing,” Bopanna said to tennishead.net in October last year.

Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *