MELBOURNE, Australia — Rohan Bopanna will become the oldest ATP tennis world No. 1 when the rankings are refreshed on Monday after his men’s doubles pairing with Matthew Ebden made the semifinals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
The more than 20-year tennis veteran, who turned pro in 2003, said it was a “dream” to finally achieve the ranking, and said it was a testament to his “perseverance” that he’s been able to maintain a high level for so long.
“This win gets me to the World No. 1 ranking once this tournament is done. I think for every player out there, it is a dream. It was my dream, and, you know, more so when you’re playing the sport for couple of decades,” he told reporters after the win.
American doubles specialist Rajeev Ram is the previous oldest player to reach the ATP’s No. 1 mark, when he achieved it at age 38 in March, 2022.
It’s been a breakthrough Grand Slam for Indian tennis after singles player Sumit Nagal became the first Indian player to defeat a seeded player at a Grand Slam since 1989, and Bopanna said his achievement would only “inspire” more Indians to play tennis.
“It hasn’t sunk in fully, to be honest. We are very, very proud. I think Indian tennis, India needed this,” Bopanna said. “You know, we don’t really have many tennis players coming up. The sport is slowly coming up. I think it’s just going to inspire a lot of people. I don’t think just in tennis. People all over the world, you know, being 40 and above, I think it’s just going to inspire them in a different way.”
Ebden will rise to No. 2 in the rankings due to some slight differences in the number of tournaments the pair have played in the past year, but said Bopanna reaching the doubles’ summit was the pair’s “big goal” coming into the 2024 season.
“We made our intentions clear. Said I want to get to World No. 1, win the slams, the big tournaments. We have ticked a lot of boxes the last year, and this is another one of those,” the Australian said….