Rohan Bopanna and Iga Swiatek. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangements
It was an unforgettable outing for Rohan Bopanna as he competed against some of the best players in the world — men and women — in a relaxed environment at the World Tennis League in Dubai.
“I had the best seat with them on the sidelines, listening to what they were thinking'”, says Bopanna. “They trained during the day with their coaches, and at night competed in a nice easy way. We had DJs performing later, which made for a very enjoyable atmosphere”, recalls Bopanna.
Season starts in Pune
With his schedule full until the Davis Cup tie against Denmark, Bopanna said he was home for a few days in Bengaluru, before going to Pune for the Maharashtra Open ATP event to start the season.
“I talked to Holger Rune during the league. He said he will play in the Davis Cup tie against us. With a top-10 player like him in the squad, it becomes very difficult for us, especially away from home”, said Bopanna.
Not ruling out India’s chances, Bopanna felt that the Indian players would have to rise to their level to meet it.
The World League also gave Bopanna the opportunity to hit some top players, including the women’s World No. 1 is Iga Swiatek.
“He met her as a loving and warm person. She was very consistent, and the backhand was her money shot. The top spin on the forehand, she hit pretty deep”, observed Bopanna.
When Swiatek’s coach Tomasz Wiktorowski asked Bopanna to speak if he noticed anything in his game, Bopanna was happy to share his perspective on sharpening his volleys.
“Coach may be telling him the same thing. But when I say, it is a different voice, and leads to a different understanding. He was a quick learner and was able to execute better volleys, go in. He sweetly acknowledges my help”, says Bopanna.
van de Zandschulp injury
Ranked 19th in the world, the 42-year-old Bopanna said he was happy to be paired with a top-35 singles player, Botic van de Zandschulp for the ATP event in Pune. He is delighted that his regular partner for the new season, Wimbledon champion Matthew Ebden has recovered from injury and will compete in the first tournament in Adelaide.
“We will partner in the second tournament in Adelaide and continue after that”, said Bopanna.