Chennai :India's Rohan Bopanna on Friday said that lack of experience of playing long-grinding singles matches made the difference as he was tired towards the end of the marathon Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie against Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil here on Friday.
Bopanna was disappointed as he failed to nearly pull off in what could be a famous victory before losing 7-6(2) 6-7(7) 5-7 6-4 10-8 to the world number 27 Brazillian in a four-hour-eight-minute marathon tie.
"It is a disappointment losing the match after coming in to Chennai with lot of hopes. The lack of playing singles matches made the difference today. There was definitely a chance but lack of singles for past years made the difference. I made him play as much as I could but he came up with some big points at crucial hours," Bopanna said after the match.
"The good part is that I was serving and kept the momentum going. I came back in the fifth set by breaking him back in the second game. But close to fifth set, I was getting physically tired as I have not been used to play over four hour singles matches every day," he said.
After winning the first set, Bopanna was comfortably placed to win the second set tie-break as he was up 5-2 but allowed Bellucci to make a comeback and that was the turning point of the match.
"In the second set tie-break I won three winners. But at 6-4, Bellucci had tremendous back hand passes to win it. Perhaps it could have changed the match if I had won. But he came up with some big shots," Bopanna conceded.
"I gave my best but Bellucci came up tremendous passes down the line. Obviously, lack of singles match that I played this year could be one of the reasons. I give all credit to him. Obviously, during the third set I was really tired, more than the fifth set," explained Bopanna.
Meanwhile, Bellucci praised Bopanna for his gutsy show and said today's tie was one of the toughest matches he had played.
"I just managed to win. I am playing him for the first time and he was at his best. Rohan was way down on rankings but in Davis Cup rankings do not matter much. He was serving well and carried with his powerful forehand.
"Perhaps I was able to come up with winners at crucial times. On the whole, this was one of the tough and close matches that I had played," said Bellucci.
"I was physically tired and also I had some problems on my right thigh like I took medical assistance in the fifth set. But somehow I have won an important point for my country on the first day of the tie," he said. Bellucci said he thought the match had slipped out of his hand after Bopanna had taken 5-2 lead in the fifth set tie-breaker.
"Even I cannot explain as to how I won the match despite trailing 2-5 in the final set and I was talking to my mind at that time.
Asked about the reverse singles against India's number one singles player Somdev Devvarman tomorrow, Bellucci said, "As for the reverse singles, I have not applied my mind at all. Let me take some rest and then think of my match against Somdev."