World number one spot is not far: Bopanna

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> The best performance of their career at the US Open has propelled the team of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi to world number six and the Indian on Monda

Updated: September 13, 2010 16:20 IST
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Chennai :

The best performance of their career at the US Open has propelled the team of Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi to world number six and the Indian on Monday said the day is not far when they will be number one.

Playing in the first ever Grand Slam final, Bopanna and Qureshi ended runners-up after losing the final to Mike and Bob Bryan.

Asked if the world number one tag was a possibility, Bopanna sais, "Why not. We are No.6 in the world now. As a team, we can definitely take a shot to be world number 1. If it does not happen this year, perhaps it could happen in the next season. I do not see why we cannot get there."

Talking about highly his successful partnership with Qureshi, Bopanna said although he knows Qureshi for more than 15 years now but they started to think seriously about the team from this January only.

"I never took doubles seriously but this year we took it seriously and we won many Challengers together and decided to work as a team together since this January. I would say it has been fruitful and we are doing well. Need to keep up the momentum," a beaming Bopanna told reporters here.

"Throughout this year we have been playing pretty well on different surfaces. We played so well leading up to the U.S. Open that gave the confidence and we were also motivated greatly. Most often, we used to win the first set and drop in the second and win the tie-break. During the US Open we never wanted to be playing in that manner and went for straight set wins," the Bangalore born Bopanna said.

He yet again brushed aside talk of political angle to his partnering Qureshi.

"We are just there to play tennis. We are trying to help each other in our respective career. Since we are brand ambassadors for Peace, we develop peace through sports.

"We are not looking at it in any political way. It's not like that he is somebody from Pakistan to me. He is a great friend for me on the court. He had no options and he has been playing with many Indians althrough his career. For me, we have been doing well together and that is about it," he said.

Talking about the phenomenon that there are just a few singles layers in India, Bopanna said tennis is an expensive sport and the youngsters need financial backing to excel.

"I am happy that Indians are there in doubles otherwise people say why no Indian is not there in singles or doubles on the professional circuit. We do have singles players on the circuit and the transition takes place and it takes time. Sponsors are not there to back our young players on the circuit. Once they cross 18, they all are left to fend for themselves," he said.

"Tennis is an expensive sport and it is not easy to sustain as one need to travel almost 30 weeks in a year and meet the expenses, besides having high quality coaches."

Bopanna was of the view that hosting more number of ATP tournaments in India and telecast of international tennis tournaments on Indian channels would help in the growth of the sport in the country.

"That is why cricket is popular and every Indian is watching the sport on television and getting into it," he said.

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