At the Australian Open quarter-finals, Rohan Bopanna, aged 43, partnered with Matt Ebden and secured the top spot in men’s doubles ranking.
The duo from India and Australia emerged victorious over the Argentine team of Máximo González and Andrés Molteni with a score of 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park on Wednesday. However, the match had to be relocated due to bubbles on court three.
Bopanna stated that achieving the No. 1 position at the age of 43 will have a significant impact globally.
“It will serve as inspiration for many individuals, not just in the realm of tennis,” he stated. “People of all ages, particularly those over 40, will find it motivating in a unique manner.”
According to the International Tennis Federation, the previous record holder for the oldest men’s doubles No 1 was Mike Bryan at the age of 41 years and 76 days, until his reign ended in 2019.
Bopanna’s age will be 43 years and 330 days when the tournament ends on Sunday.
Lisa Raymond was acknowledged as the oldest female player to hold the No 1 ranking in doubles, at the age of 39 when she relinquished the title for the final time in 2012.
At the age of 35, Serena Williams holds the title of the oldest female to be ranked as No. 1 in singles. There is a possibility that Novak Djokovic may surpass Roger Federer’s record for men’s singles at the age of 36 this year.
In 2018, David Wagner, at the age of 44, held the top spot in the quad wheelchair rankings.
Both Bopanna and Ebden have an equal number of rankings points, but Bopanna will have a higher ranking due to Ebden participating in three additional tournaments during this time period.
Bopanna expressed that achieving the top ranking has always been a goal of his, and he gave credit to Ebden for helping him climb up the rankings.
“We both have the same number of points, so I believe we should technically be ranked as No. 1 together,” he stated.
In late 2022, they came together after their former partners decided to pursue different career paths. Bopanna stated that they were limited in their choices during that period.
According to Ebden, the selection of potential players is limited when searching for a new partner.
“He plays on the right side of the court while I play on the left side. We have been acquainted for quite some time and believed that our playing styles could work together. So we decided to give it a try,” he stated.
Scott Davidoff, the coach of Bopanna since 2005, has been his trainer for 12 years. He stated that the duo’s bond goes beyond just tennis and their No 1 ranking is a significant accomplishment.
“It is certainly an emotive day, but we have more things to anticipate tomorrow.”
In 2022, Ebden and Max Purcell were victorious in the Wimbledon men’s doubles tournament. Bopanna earned the French Open mixed doubles title in 2017, but has yet to win a grand slam in men’s doubles.
On Thursday, the duo will face Tomas Machac and Zhizhen Zhang in the semi-final round.