Australian Open: Rohan Bopanna gets deadline to find new doubles partner

Bopanna has until February 4 to find a new partner as Joao Sousa will not be able to travel to Melbourne due to COVID quarantine rules.

By Rahul Venkat ·

India’s Rohan Bopanna has a little over a week to look for a new partner to play the 2021 Australian Open after his initial partner Joao Sousa of Portugal pulled out of the year’s first Grand Slam.

Sousa, who was training in Barcelona, Spain, had tested positive for COVID-19 a few days before flying to Australia, which delayed his departure. He has since recovered and also returned a negative test, but COVID quarantine rules on arrival in Australia prevented him from taking part.

The COVID guidelines in Melbourne, which is where the Australian Open will be played, outline that any person flying into the city will be required to quarantine for a period of 14 days.

With the Grand Slam starting on February 8, it would have been too close a call, which is why Joao Sousa decided to pull out, the first time he will miss the main draw of a Grand Slam since 2013.

However, the situation left the 40-year-old Rohan Bopanna in the lurch.

“I am still searching for a partner, I will need to find one before February 4, which is when the draw will be announced,” Bopanna told the Hindustan Times.

Moreover, with the quarantine rules preventing any new players from coming to Melbourne, Rohan Bopanna will have to hope that the partner of some other player pulls out so that he can team up with them. Even then, the duo may not directly make it to the main draw.

Rohan Bopanna, the doubles world No. 38, is currently in strict quarantine at a Melbourne hotel – he cannot even step outside his room to train – because someone on his flight from Doha to Melbourne had tested COVID-positive.

The Indian tennis player’s strict quarantine ends on January 30, and he is scheduled to play at an ATP 250 event in Melbourne starting January 31 – which means he will dive into competition without any training for a fortnight.