The ‘Indo-Pak Express’ tennis pair of India’s Rohan Bopanna and Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi will reunite on the court after seven years as they partner up for the ATP 500 event in Acapulco, Mexico, from March 15 to 20 this year. The duo will team up for just one event for now.
Bopanna and Qureshi, currently ranked 40 and 49, respectively, in the ATP doubles ranking, could not meet the ranking criteria when they intended to team up for the Dubai Tennis Championships.
The famed tennis partners formed a successful partnership more than ten years ago, reaching the doubles final at the 2010 US Open and the Wimbledon quarter-final in the same year.
After their Paris Masters win in 2011, they even broke into the top-10 in the ATP doubles team ranking.
Apart from being a triumphant pair on the tennis court, the “peace ambassadors” batted for India and Pakistan’s friendship whenever they played together. The two started the Stop War, Start Tennis campaign, and won the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year Award.
The pair last played together at the ATP 250 event in Shenzhen, China, in 2014. Despite the long hiatus, Qureshi remains optimistic about the rekindled partnership as they step on the hardcourt in Mexico later this month.
The current world No. 2 Rafael Nadal won the last edition of the Abierto Mexicano ATP 500 tournament, and the Polish-Brazilian duo Marcelo Melo and Lukasz Kubot claimed the doubles title.
Qureshi said, “I am super excited. Hopefully, we will play well together and hit it off. Maybe then we can decide and talk of playing a few more tournaments together, but right now, it’s a one-off tournament.”
Bopanna said, “Aisam and I have always been thick friends and at this juncture of my career it’s nice to be playing with someone I’ve known for ages. If we’re struggling to get into ATP 500 tournaments together, we can imagine how it’s going to be at Masters events. So for now, we will be playing together just for this tournament. As doubles players, we are literally living week-by-week at this point. I will be trying to find different partners every week till I get someone fixed.”