Rohan Bopanna to team up with Joao Sousa for Australian Open

World No. 39 in doubles, Rohan Bopanna will compete in an ATP 250 event in Melbourne ahead of the season-opening Grand Slam at Melbourne Park.

By Naveen Peter ·

India’s top-ranked men’s doubles player, Rohan Bopanna, will partner Portuguese Joao Sousa in the first half of the 2021 season, a period that will include the Australian Open.

Rohan Bopanna, who will begin his season with an ATP 250 event in Melbourne on January 31, will be keen to start the new year on a positive note, especially with the Tokyo Olympics on the horizon.

But things will be difficult with new rules dictating players movement in Australia given the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am leaving India on January 14, serve my two weeks of quarantine, do multiple COVID-19 tests and get ready for the ATP 250,” Bopanna told the New Indian Express.

“We can practice five hours every day, but the five hours will include everything... gym work, physio, recovery work in the pool as well as playing on the court.”

The world No. 39 in doubles was initially planning to pair up with Austria's Jurgen Melzer but was forced to alter his decision after ATP released an updated schedule earlier this month.

Bengaluru-based Bopanna, however, remains unaffected by the change in plans and is looking forward to producing some quality performances in the initial swing of events.

“The one good thing is I am not defending a lot of (ranking) points in that three-month stretch right to the French Open. I have to play with somebody which will enable me to play in the ATP Masters events.”

Meanwhile, his Davis Cup partner, Divij Sharan will team up with Slovak veteran Igor Zelenay for the Australian Open.

While both Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan have been granted direct entries into the Australian Open men’s doubles and Sumit Nagal has bagged a wildcard for the men's singles' main draw, the likes of Prajnesh Guneswaran, Ramkumar Ramanathan and Ankita Raina will have to start from the qualifiers.

Unlike in the past, the 2021 Australian Open qualifiers will be held in Doha and Dubai from January 10-13 following which the players will head to Melbourne for a two-week quarantine. Australian Open begins February 8.