MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — At 43, Rohan Bopanna became the oldest man to win a Grand Slam doubles title in the Open era when he combined with Matt Ebden on Saturday for a 7-6 (0), 7-5 victory over Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori in the Australian Open final.
It was his first major title in men’s doubles — he won a mixed doubles title at Roland Garros in 2017 — and came in his 61st attempt, and with his 19th partner. It was his 17th Australian Open, and Ebden was his 12th partner at Melbourne Park.
“You definitely got to know how old I am,” Bopanna told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena. “I’ve changed it a bit, I say I’m at level 43, not age 43 now!”
Bopanna and Ebden, at a combined age of 79, will top the rankings next week and become the oldest No. 1 pairing in tennis history.
At 43 years and 329 days, Bopanna is the oldest by three years to win a men’s doubles major in the Open era.
On Monday, at 43 years and 331 days, he’ll be the oldest to be ranked No. 1 in men’s doubles. Mike Bryan was 41 years and 76 days when his stint atop the rankings ended in July 2019.
Bopanna and Ebden lost to Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury in the U.S. Open final last September and were seeded second at Melbourne Park.
“What an amazing tournament. Thanks to my partner Rohan,” Ebden said in the trophy presentation. “Age truly really is not even a number for this guy. He is young at heart. He is a champion and a warrior.”
After the first set was decided in a tiebreaker, Bopanna and Ebden broke at love in the 11th game of the second set, and then Ebden closed out the match.
It was a third Grand Slam doubles title for Ebden, who won the mixed title in Melbourne 11 years ago and the men’s doubles at Wimbledon two years ago.
Bopanna became the third man from India to win a Grand Slam doubles title after Leander Paes, who won eight, and Mahesh Bhupathi, who won four.
AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis