‘Mixed feelings’ as Bopanna flies to USA to return to Tour


Rohan Bopanna will fly round 8,000 miles from India to the USA ahead of protecting half of of that distance subsequent month to pass from the USA to Europe, touching down on 3 nations in a span of a month-and-a-half right through an epidemic. All this to play simply 4 tournaments.

It’s an abnormal itinerary, for pro tennis avid gamers in most cases membership in combination a host of tournaments in a single continent in a season. But within the present state of affairs, Bopanna, India’s highest-ranked tennis professional, will spouse Canadian emerging celebrity Denis Shapovalov to play the ATP Cincinnati Open (from August 22) and the USA Open (August 31) in New York, the Rome Masters (September 14) and the French Open (September 27) in Paris ahead of returning house.

The doubles global No. 37 is the one Indian who will play the ATP 1000 Cincinnati Open, which marks the return of the boys’s ATP Tour after a five-month ruin whilst additionally appearing as a curtain-raiser to the hard-court Grand Slam on the identical venue.

“Mixed feelings about being back (on the Tour),” Bopanna mentioned over telephone ahead of taking his flight from Bengaluru to New York early Saturday morning. “I have a daughter who is now going to be 15 months old, so it was special spending time with her and being with her at home.

“I love competing and am really happy to be back. Having said that, the tournaments will feel different with no people watching. There are so many restrictions with the US Open in terms of the (halved) doubles draw and no singles qualifying. So, yes, it’s a Grand Slam, but it’s kind of a closed Grand Slam. So I’m not really sure what to expect,” he added.

For a very long time, the 40-year-old additionally wasn’t certain if he would make the adventure to New York, with other shuttle and quarantine restrictions in position. But as soon as India began restricted flights to USA and the collaborating avid gamers at the USA Open had been promised a waiver of the quarantine length, Bopanna made up our minds to give it a shot regardless of the reservations.

“Initially nobody was sure because we don’t have any firsthand information about how things are planned there. We are only reading and receiving information. But once they put in place the protocols and logistics of how everything was going to be carried out, it made it a little easier to make the decision to travel. The main thing was the flights had to open up in India,” he mentioned.

Bopanna took a Covid-19 check on Wednesday – which returned unfavorable – ahead of his flight. He might be examined once more as soon as he assessments into the designated lodge in Queens and enters the bio bubble ahead of a variety of rules and restrictions kick in. “I’m going with an open mind. Once we get there I think we’ll have a better idea of how things are. But there will be no access to Manhattan or any restaurants or anything else. It’s just tennis courts and back. So I’ll kind of be in another lockdown, only this time in New York!” Bopanna mentioned.

The US Open could be on however it’ll lack in taste. Numerous top-100 avid gamers, together with the boys’s and girls’s singles protecting champions, have pulled out whilst each the tournaments in New York might be performed in the back of closed doorways.

“Not at all surprised that some players have decided not to go,” the 2017 French Open combined doubles champion mentioned. “It’s a purely personal decision; I don’t think anybody can be held for that. Everyone has different thoughts on the situation. But that’s the beauty of our sport—you can make your own call.”

Bopanna was once the primary tennis professional to resume coaching in India, hitting the courts in Bengaluru in June ahead of recurrences of the lockdown within the state disrupted his continuity. He feels his preparation after an extended ruin has been good enough however goes to take it one recreation at a time.

“Physically I’m feeling great. I’ve been doing a lot of Iyengar Yoga, which has enhanced my physical strength. I’ve been practising in my academy for the past three weeks, both on clay and hard courts. So in terms of hitting the ball, I feel fine. Clearly, no one will be match-sharp. We just have to take things, literally and absolutely, one match at a time. There’s no point thinking too far ahead,” he mentioned.

There certain isn’t. Tournaments proceed to get cancelled and there is not any sure bet about how the Tour will form up after the French Open leads to October. Bopanna thus needs to deal with this two-month section like the beginning of a recent season by which avid gamers play a match or two ahead of heading immediately into the 12 months’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.

“It’s the same scenario here. It’s very difficult to say how it’s going to be and there’s no point pre-guessing it. All I know for a fact now is that once I leave, I won’t be coming back immediately. I’ll play all the four tournaments, return to India and get quarantined,” he mentioned.



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