THE LAST TIME FEATURE
The Last Time... With Bopanna & Qureshi
by James Buddell|
Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, who are known as ‘The Indo-Pak Express’, reunited as a doubles team for the 2014 ATP World Tour season. In February, the duo won their fifth ATP World Tour title at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
ATPWorldTour.com asked them the last time…
Being famous helped me
Bopanna: It helped my wife and I get some visas to come to Europe. The guy at the embassy was a big tennis fan.
Qureshi: They delayed a plane for me for 45 minutes on 23 December last year. I had a flight at 2:30pm to Bangkok and my passport had not arrived from Islamabad. The plane departed at 3:15pm.
Bopanna: I was thankful, because he was coming to play at the Aircel Chennai Open!
I cooked for myself or others
Bopanna: I cooked some breakfast. My wife was having a good sleep, so as I was hungry I needed to make my tummy happy. My specialty is good scrambled eggs.
Qureshi: The last time I cooked was on a television show in Pakistan in December. They forced me to cook some eggs.
I met a childhood idol
Bopanna: When I met Stefan Edberg in Australia this year.
Qureshi: It was also Stefan Edberg, but I met him in 1998 in London.
I shared a hotel room with another player
Bopanna: I think it was in 2009 at some Challengers. It might have been with Aisam.
Qureshi: That is probably right.
I drove myself to a tournament
Bopanna: I drive to Indian Wells every year, hiring a car.
Qureshi: I have never done it.
I paid money to hire a tennis court or tennis balls
Bopanna: In Bangalore, I always go out to buy tennis balls. I have never had to pay to hire a court.
Qureshi: Back home, I always have to pay for balls. I think there were a few Challengers when we had to go off site and hire a court to train.
I paid for tennis clothing
Bopanna: I always buy my own grips, but I can't remember for clothes.
Qureshi: It must have been 10 years since I paid for tennis clothing.
I drove my coach or fitness trainer crazy
Bopanna: I think in off season training in December. It was tough. You always have some disagreements. I always want to ask why any advice is improving my game.
Qureshi: Or he [my coach] drove me nuts? The two I really remember is once in 2007, my coach Robert Davis left a tennis tournament and went home. Last year, during Rome and Madrid we decided to take a break for a week.
I strung my own tennis racquet
Bopanna: I have never strung a tennis racquet. I know how to, but I definitely need some lessons. I get my racquets strung every day with natural gut in the mains and Luxilon in the crosses. Around 48lbs in the main and 50lbs in the crosses. I have an 18/20 string pattern in my racquet, so it keeps the tension well.
Qureshi: I have never done it. I use NXT Tour 16 in the mains and Luxilon Adrenaline in the crosses. I string them tighter indoors or when the court is a little bit quicker. Normally at 58/56lbs. At outdoor tournaments, it’s slower - so 54lbs or 56/54lbs.
I went for a long run
Bopanna: It was during off season training. I love them. I did a few 800 metres at the end of the year, which was tough. I like long runs.
Qureshi: In December.
I lost something important
Bopanna: I don’t remember. It’s been a while. There was an instance when I left my passport in the hotel room and went to the airport. I cut it pretty close then.
Qureshi: Luckily, I have been able to get the things I lost back!
I asked someone for their autograph
Bopanna: I got Rod Laver’s autograph in Shanghai last year.
Qureshi: Ivan Lendl last year.
I visited my childhood tennis club
Bopanna: I visited it last year. Sometimes I play there, but do visit it a lot.
Qureshi: I still train there when I am back home.
I played a sport that might have caused a minor injury
Bopanna: I play safer sports like golf. I also play cricket. We played indoor cricket recently which could have been risky.
Qureshi: Football. I’ve had a few injuries, including rupturing my ribs.
I missed a flight
Qureshi: A few. It was last year after the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals. I missed it. I was on a train, which got stuck. I met a friend and left a little bit late. The flight was at 8pm. I left the city at 6pm, thinking I would reach Heathrow at 6:30pm. I got there at 8:25pm.
Bopanna: I have missed some connecting flights. But a memorable missed flight was in 1997, when my cousin told me he would take me to the airport. He said he wanted to meet some friends and we had enough time to get to the airport. When we got there, check in was closed.
I failed an exam
Bopanna: Back in school, maths. I re-took it and passed. Outdoor sport was always my focus, school was not my preference.
Qureshi: I always passed. I wasn’t an A student, more a Bs or Cs student. I enjoyed school and was a fast learner.