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What is the connection between Denis Shapovalov and India's doubles champion Rohan Bopanna?

Saturday, July 10, 2021 • Tamil Sport News Comments

Defending champion Novak Djokovic beat Canadian player Denis Shapovalov 7-6, 7-5, 7-5 in the second semi-final of the day to reach his 30th Grand Slam final against world number nine Matteo Berrettini. Shapovalov, who exhibited a brilliant show throughout his first Grand Slam semi-final and at times even eclipsed Djokovic, received a standing ovation from the crowd as he left the arena in tears.

Cheering on Shapovalov from the stands through the course of the game was Indian doubles star Rohit Bopanna, much to the surprise of several Tennis viewers from the country. Turns out, Bopanna shares a close relationship with the 22-year-old rising star, who also happens to be his doubles partner. The 19-time doubles champion was apparently looking for a partner at the Indian Wells in 2019 and happened to contact Shapovalov as all the doubles players were already partnered up ahead of the game.

Recalling the event and explaining his relationship with Shapovalov, Bopanna had earlier said, "My partnership with Denis is truly unique, given he is almost 20 years younger than me. It all started at Indian Wells last year when I was looking for a partner and you need to combine rankings to get into the doubles draw. All the doubles specialists already had partners so I was checking on as to which singles players I can play with. I saw Denis' name and decided to send him a text. And Indian Wells is an event where all singles players end up playing doubles as well. So it was nice of him to say yes."

Claiming that they instantly developed a good rapport with each other, Bopanna added, "Right away, from the first match, we enjoyed the camaraderie between us. I think I bring in special experience into the doubles format. And his super-fast speed, power and flamboyance, helped my game tremendously as well. So that combination worked for us."

The 41-year-old doubles star further said, "Slowly, we started committing to more events – be it 250, 500 or Grand Slams. Slowly, we started to enjoy each other's company, and I got to know him a lot better. He's a fantastic guy and he's doing so much for tennis. It has transformed into an honest friendship and as long as we enjoy playing together, that is what gives us success at the end of the day."

Ahead of the Mutua Madrid Open 2021, Shapovalov had showered praises on Bopanna, mentioning that he was a smart player and that it felt great to be mentored by him. Shapovalov had then stated in an interview, "He (Bopanna) helped me out in Australia. So, it's definitely great to play doubles with him but also just to get, you know, mentored by him. I feel he is such a smart guy, such a smart player. So, it's great to learn from him."

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