Rohan Bopanna will fly round 8,000 miles from India to the US earlier than masking half of that distance subsequent month to go from the US to Europe, touching down on three nations in a span of a month-and-a-half throughout a pandemic. All this to play simply 4 tournaments.
It’s an uncommon itinerary, for skilled tennis gamers usually membership collectively a bunch of tournaments in a single continent in a season. However within the present state of affairs, Bopanna, India’s highest-ranked tennis professional, will companion Canadian rising star Denis Shapovalov to play the ATP Cincinnati Open (from August 22) and the US Open (August 31) in New York, the Rome Masters (September 14) and the French Open (September 27) in Paris earlier than returning residence.
The doubles world No. 37 is the one Indian who will play the ATP 1000 Cincinnati Open, which marks the return of the lads’s ATP Tour after a five-month break whereas additionally appearing as a curtain-raiser to the hard-court Grand Slam on the similar venue.
“Combined emotions about being again (on the Tour),” Bopanna stated over cellphone earlier than taking his flight from Bengaluru to New York early Saturday morning. “I’ve a daughter who’s now going to be 15 months previous, so it was particular spending time together with her and being together with her at residence.
“I really like competing and am actually blissful to be again. Having stated that, the tournaments will really feel totally different with no individuals watching. There are such a lot of restrictions with the US Open by way of the (halved) doubles draw and no singles qualifying. So, sure, it’s a Grand Slam, nevertheless it’s type of a closed Grand Slam. So I’m not likely positive what to anticipate,” he added.
For a very long time, the 40-year-old additionally wasn’t positive if he would make the journey to New York, with totally different journey and quarantine restrictions in place. However as soon as India began restricted flights to USA and the taking part gamers on the US Open had been promised a waiver of the quarantine interval, Bopanna determined to offer it a shot regardless of the reservations.
“Initially no one was positive as a result of we don’t have any firsthand details about how issues are deliberate there. We’re solely studying and receiving data. However as soon as they put in place the protocols and logistics of how the whole lot was going to be carried out, it made it somewhat simpler to make the choice to journey. The principle factor was the flights needed to open up in India,” he stated.
Bopanna took a Covid-19 check on Wednesday – which returned unfavourable – earlier than his flight. He will probably be examined once more as soon as he checks into the designated lodge in Queens and enters the bio bubble earlier than a variety of laws and restrictions kick in. “I’m going with an open thoughts. As soon as we get there I believe we’ll have a greater thought of how issues are. However there will probably be no entry to Manhattan or any eating places or anything. It’s simply tennis courts and again. So I’ll type of be in one other lockdown, solely this time in New York!” Bopanna stated.
The US Open is perhaps on however it’s going to lack in taste. A lot of top-100 gamers, together with the lads’s and girls’s singles defending champions, have pulled out whereas each the tournaments in New York will probably be performed behind closed doorways.
“In no way shocked that some gamers have determined to not go,” the 2017 French Open blended doubles champion stated. “It’s a purely private determination; I don’t assume anyone might be held for that. Everybody has totally different ideas on the state of affairs. However that’s the great thing about our sport—you can also make your personal name.”
Bopanna was the primary tennis professional to renew coaching in India, hitting the courts in Bengaluru in June earlier than recurrences of the lockdown within the state disrupted his continuity. He feels his preparation after a protracted break has been satisfactory however goes to take it one sport at a time.
“Bodily I’m feeling nice. I’ve been doing a number of Iyengar Yoga, which has enhanced my bodily energy. I’ve been practising in my academy for the previous three weeks, each on clay and laborious courts. So by way of hitting the ball, I really feel high quality. Clearly, nobody will probably be match-sharp. We simply should take issues, actually and completely, one match at a time. There’s no level considering too far forward,” he stated.
There positive isn’t. Tournaments proceed to get cancelled and there’s no certainty about how the Tour will form up after the French Open ends in October. Bopanna thus needs to deal with this two-month part like the beginning of a contemporary season whereby gamers play a event or two earlier than heading straight into the 12 months’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.
“It’s the identical state of affairs right here. It’s very tough to say the way it’s going to be and there’s no level pre-guessing it. All I do know for a reality now’s that after I go away, I received’t be coming again instantly. I’ll play all of the 4 tournaments, return to India and get quarantined,” he stated.