Minutes after winning his first men's doubles title in a Grand Slam at the Australian Open here, becoming the oldest player to win a Grand Slam title, India's Rohan Bopanna said he does not feel 43-year-old and thanked his team especially American coach Scott Davidoff and physio Rebecca for keeping him fit as fettle to take on the challenge of playing at this level.
Bopanna made history on Saturday, becoming the oldest man in the Open Era to win a major men's doubles title on Saturday, teaming up with Australian Matthew Ebden to win the Australian Open. The 43-year-old Bopanna and Ebden overcame Italians Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori 7-6(0), 7-5 to clinch the crown at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
Bopanna, who was awarded the Padma Shri by the Indian government on Thursday, is set to become the oldest first-time World No.1 in men's doubles. This is also Bopanna's first men's doubles title.
"You know, you definitely, you know, got to know how old I am. I'm sure a lot of people, but I've changed it a little bit and I say I'm at level 43, not age 43 now," said Bopanna in his address to the spectators after winning the title.
The Indian tennis star thanked his Australian partner Matthew Ebden and said it would not have been possible without him.
Calling the Australian Open a 'home slam', Bopanna, who had a fantastic season last year, thanked his fans, family and support staff for their untiring work to keep him going.
"I mean we had a fantastic season last year and for me to win my first men's doubles Grand Slam here at the Asia Pacific Grand Slam, it's totally, totally a Home Slam.
"So, thank you, thank you guys for I thank Craig (Tiley, CEO, Tennis Australia) and Tennis Australia and his entire team for conducting such a wonderful tournament," said Bopanna.
Bopanna thanked his coach and physio for making this day possible.
"So, thank you, Craig for the wonderful job you guys are doing. And of course, you know my family, there's a team. Tennis is such a great teacher and no better teacher than Scott Davidoff who has been with me for over a decade.
"You know, I know it's been a tough, tough journey, but I'm really glad that you're being by my side, you know, and this week, please as much as mine as yours," Bopanna said.
"And Rebecca, the one who keeps me young keeps me moving, my physio. Thank you so much for you know to making sure I do all the right things every day and it's wonderful having you part of the team. So really really thank you," said Bopanna.
The 43-year-old from Karnataka, who has his coffee blend, jokingly noted that his in-laws, who were in the stands, last came to see him play in 2017 and he won his first Grand Slam title, the French Open mixed doubles title.
"I have my in-laws here. The last time they came I actually won my mixed doubles title. So, I don't know why they're not coming more often. But thank you," he added, thanking his wife Supriya and daughter Tridha for their support and love.
(With inputs from IANS)