Australian Open men’s doubles champion Rohan Bopanna won the Ace of Aces award at the Sportstar Aces Awards 2024 held at the Taj Mahal Palace here on Thursday.
Bopanna received the award from fellow tennis player and Grand Slam champion, Leander Paes. “I always wished I could play doubles with Bopanna,” Paes said.
Bopanna recently became the oldest player, aged 43, to achieve the World No. 1 ranking in men’s doubles.
“We are constantly travelling and playing tournaments, so it feels great to come here and meet all these wonderful athletes that India has produced. My goal was to win a men’s doubles Grand Slam and to reach the World No. 1 ranking. After years and years of sacrifice, I have finally realised my dream,” Bopanna said.
“It is very humbling for me to reach these heights from the beautiful land of Coorg. It was my parents who insisted that I train in an individual sport. That is when my tennis journey started, in Coorg. And now I have gone all the way across the world to win a Grand Slam in Melbourne,” Bopanna said.
He explained that his focus on adequate recovery changed the path of his career. “I started to focus on recovery at the end of 2019. My cartilages in the knee had fully worn out. I took around two or three painkillers a day. Doctor told me to try platelet-rich plasma injections. But just injections will not work; I had to do strengthening exercises. That’s when I discovered Iyengar Yoga.
“I was in extreme pain, so I gave it a try. Because of Iyengar Yoga, I can now play tennis without pain. I never thought this day will come,” Bopanna said.