Indian ace Rohan Bopanna can finally celebrate his first grand slam men’s doubles crown after linking with Aussie Matt Ebden to win the Australian Open title.
The pair triumphed over Italian duo Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori 7-6 (7-0) 7-5 in a Saturday night final on Rod Laver Arena.
Aged 43, new world No.1 Bopanna is now the oldest man in the Open era to win a grand slam doubles title, lifting the trophy on his 61st appearance in a men’s doubles draw, which is the most attempts before a victory.
Bopanna, whose only previous slam win was in the mixed doubles at the French Open in 2017, was playing in his 17th Australian Open, with his 12th different partner.
It’s Wimbledon men’s doubles champion Ebden’s third major title, 11 years since he won his first in the mixed doubles in Melbourne.
Two years ago, the 36-year-old Ebden landed the Wimbledon men’s doubles crown with Max Purcell after the local pair had earlier lost in the Australian Open final that year to Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
His win also makes up for his defeat in the US Open title decider last year alongside Bopanna.
It’s the third successive year an Australian has featured in a winning men’s duo, with Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler taking the title in 2023.
“What an amazing tournament. Thanks to my partner Rohan; he is 43 years old, it is is first men’s grand slam doubles final,” Ebden said.
“Age truly really is not even a number for this guy. He is young at heart. He is a champion and a warrior and he has fought hard by my side this whole last year.
“It has been such a dream come true to win here in Australia in front of our home fans so thank you so much.”
Little separated the pairings in a tight final, with Bopanna and Ebden, who have played together for almost 12 months, coming up with the goods when it mattered.
The first set stayed on serve and went to a tie-break, which they stormed through effortlessly without dropping a single point.
The second set played out the same way until at 5-5 Bopanna and Ebden broke Vavassori to love, allowing the Australian to serve for the match.
The “Big Bopper” Bopanna iced the win when he smashed the ball at the net to seal the straight sets triumph.
Bopanna joked he was at “level 43” rather than aged 43.
“Obviously this could not have been possible if I do not have a fantastic Aussie partner by my side so thank you to Matt,” he said.
“We have had a fantastic season last year and for me to win my first men’s doubles grand slam here, thank you.”