Defending Australian Open 2024 men's singles champion Novak Djokovic joined the bandwagon on Wednesday to celebrate Rohan Bopanna's stellar performance at Melbourne Park en route to a second Grand Slam final alongside Australia's Matthew Ebden in the men's doubles. By winning in the quarterfinals against the Argentinian duo of Máximo González, Andrés Molteni, Bopanna became the oldest world number one in the history of the ATP men's doubles rankings.
The record was previously held by American Rajeev Ram, who took the crown in October 2022 for the first time in his career at the age of 38, replacing partner Joe Salisbury from Great Britain.
Taking to Instagram on Wednesday, amid celebrations in India, Djokovic shared a story with a happy message for Bopanna. The caption read: “Congratulations Bops. Amazing effort. And to do it at such a young age. Even more impressive.”
On Thursday, Bopanna improved on his best showing at the Australian Open to reach his second consecutive Grand Slam final alongside Ebden and the third of his career after winning a thrilling super tiebreak in the semi-finals against Tomas Machac and Zhang Zhizhen at the iconic Rod Laver. Arena.
Speaking to news agency PTI from Melbourne, Bopanna, who will rise to the top of the rankings on Monday regardless of the result in the final, reckoned his success at the age of 43 was the perfect boost that Indian tennis needed right then. falling off the radar.
“It (this performance) means a lot not only for me but also for Indian tennis. You need something to inspire the next generation. Sumit (Nagal) also had a great Australian Open. He won one round,” the Indian said. “I'm extremely proud of it (world No. 1 in men's doubles). It's a special moment. A lot of sacrifices have been put into it. My coaches, my family all. My family is traveling with me, such a different feeling.”
The Italian team of Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori will meet Dominik Koepfer and Yannick Hanfmann of Germany in the second semi-final to follow at the Rod Laver Arena. The winners of the match will meet Bopanna and Ebden in the final on Saturday. If Bopanna, who won the French Open in mixed doubles with Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski in 2017, makes it to the final, he will become the oldest Slam winner in ATP history with the first men's doubles major.
Meanwhile, Djokovic reached his 11th Australian Open semi-final after seeing off a wild Taylor Fritz in a four-set battle earlier this week. He will next face Jannik Sinner, who defeated him twice at the end of 2023, to advance to the finals.
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