Rohan Bopanna has said he does not find playing tennis at the highest level challenging despite the passing years. The 37-year-old cited Roger Federer's exploits in the singles circuit in 2017 while pointing to his own ability to continue playing doubles.
The world number 18, who was felicitated by the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association (KSLTA) on the sidelines of the ongoing ATP Challenger event — Bengaluru Open — on Friday (November 24), also said he wants to represent the country at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Bopanna, who finished fourth at Rio Olympics along with Sania Mirza in the mixed doubles, won his maiden Grand Slam earlier this year, partnering with Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski at the Roland Garros in June.
The Karnataka ace won three other titles this year, including a Masters 1000 title at Monte Carlo.
The right-hander, known for his serve and volley style, has taken over from the likes of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi and is now the senior-most and the only doubles specialist in the Indian Davis Cup team.
Even as young players in the country struggle to maintain fitness levels, Bopanna has managed to play full seasons without major setbacks over the past couple of years.
Notably, he even played his first singles match in three years at last year's Davis Cup Asia-Oceania Group I tie against South Korea after his younger compatriot Saketh Myneni failed to recover in time for the reverse singles match.
'I don't think it is a challenge'
"Well, if you look at Roger Federer, he is playing singles at 36. I don't think playing doubles at 37 is really a challenge. I have had a physio travelling with me for the last few years. That makes a lot of difference. It's about making sure you cool down well [after major tournaments] and focus on yourself," Bopanna said when asked about how he manages to stay fit.
He added: "If I am fit and playing tennis at the highest level, why not [play the 2020 Tokyo Olympics]? Tokyo is very much on the cards, and like I said tennis is a day-to-day game. Sometimes, you can't look that far ahead. There is still a long way to go as far as Tokyo is concerned."
Meanwhile, Bopanna also shed light on whether he would be representing the country at next year's Asian Games, starting August 18.
Notably, India won a total of five medals at the 2014 continental meet, including the mixed doubles Gold from Myneni and Sania Mirza.
"Asian Games is there [next year]. I am not sure what the dates are. Have to see whether it is clashing with any of the four Grand Slams or any other big tournaments," Bopanna said.
Plans for 2018, partnership with Edouard Roger-Vasselin
The Karnataka man is also eyeing a stint at the ATP World Tour Finals in 2018. After having parted ways with Pablo Cuevas of Spain, Bopanna said he hopes to forge a strong partnership with world number 26 Edouard Roger-Vasselin, who compliments his style of play, according to the senior campaigner.
Notably, Bopanna, who had spoken about his preference of playing with a regular partner, was forced to change partners frequently due to injury woes to Cuevas in the run-up to Wimbledon. The Indian ace combined with former partner Eduard in London, but the duo was knocked out in the second round of the Grand Slam.
"I am looking forward to next year, playing with Edouard. The main reason behind choosing Edouard is he is now fully focused on doubles. So we can concentrate much better as a team. This year, the problem I had with Cuevas was we did not practice much for doubles. He was a singles player. That was one of the reasons I decided to partner with someone who focuses only on doubles," Bopanna said.
"The plan is to focus on Grand Slams and qualify for London Masters. I think if you're playing well and doing well, it's very much possible to get there," he added.