‘Favourite’ Federer not Rohan Bopanna’s ideal partner, it’s Rafa! 

Rohan Bopanna also talks about his desire to partner Sania Mirza in the Tokyo Olympics to win a medal for India.

Indian tennis ace Rohan Bopanna picked Swiss legend Roger Federer as his all-time favourite tennis star but insists on partnering up with Spanish maestro Rafael Nadal in doubles, given a choice.

The Bengaluru-born tennis player went up against Roger Federer at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, in 2006 and despite going down in straight sets to the eventual champion, the meeting left a lasting impression.

“Federer has always been my favourite, one of the main reasons being he has a single-handed backhand,” Rohan Bopanna explained during a Live chat with Sportskeeda.

“I got the opportunity in 2006 to play against him and after that, he has always been someone who I have been constantly learning from, not only on the court but also off the court.

“The way he conducts himself, he has the respect of all the tennis players out there,” he revealed his admiration for the Swiss star.

Rohan Bopanna is one of the only four Indian tennis stars, alongside Leander Paes, Somdev Devvarman and Sumit Nagal, to have stood across the net against Roger Federer in a competitive singles match.

Rafael Nadal a doubles choice

While picking his preferred doubles partner, however, the 2017 French Open mixed doubles champion opted to go for the most successful player to have graced Roland Garros – Rafael Nadal. 

And the choice was more tactical than driven by emotions.

Rohan Bopanna, a right-handed player, believes Rafael Nadal being a left-hander will help the duo get the left-right combination going on the court, making them a far more lethal pairing.

“He is a left-handed player and he plays exceptional doubles,” reasoned the highest-ranked men’s doubles tennis player from India.

“He has a very good idea of the game and he is also an Olympics gold medallist in doubles.”

Rohan Bopanna has played alongside both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal while playing for the Indian Aces in the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

Partnering Sania Mirza in Tokyo

Diverging from his fantasy dream team, Rohan Bopanna also made note of his prospects for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

Rohan Bopanna partnered Sania Mirza in Rio 2016 and the duo reached the mixed doubles semi-finals before losing out to the Czech pairing of Radek Stepanek and Lucie Hradecka in the bronze medal match.

Having come so close, the 40-year-old believes there’s still unfinished business for the pair and is eager to have another go at an Olympic medal in Tokyo if an opportunity arises.

“I am looking forward to it if I get an opportunity to play with her (Sania Mirza). It will be great, no doubt. I think we had a really tough outing in 2016 and it was a heartbreak for both of us.

“So, if we do get an opportunity then yes, we will definitely go out there and give everything we have and try and get that medal for our country,” he pledged.

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