On a historic night, Rohan Bopanna loses title but wins hearts: Watch
Rohan Bopanna, along with Matthew Ebden, finished runners-up in the US Open 2023 men's doubles final but won hearts with a touch of incredible sportsmanship.
'Winning hearts' is one of the most cliched terms in sports, often used as a pat on the back for the ones coming second in a tough-fought contest. But some nights make cliched terms special. One such night was Friday's US Open 2023 men's doubles final between Rajeev Ram/Joe Salisbury and Rohan Bopanna/Matthew Ebden.
On the one hand, Ram/Salisbury were chasing a historic three-peat in the US Open while on the other hand, the 'forever young' Rohan Bopanna returned to the final of the US Open after 13 years, chasing his first-ever men's doubles Grand Slam title.
One history was created as Ram and Salisbury defended their title to become the first pair after 1912 to do a three-peat in the US Open, while the wait for Rohan Bopanna continued.
But as it is said, sports is beyond those trophies at times, and that is what happened when Rohan Bopanna displayed incredible sportsmanship to concede a point in the deciding set.
The duo of Bopanna/Ebden were trailing 2-4 in the deciding set when Ebden's forehand winner brushed past Bopanna's elbow but both the referee and his opponents failed to notice that.
Without any hesitation, the 43-year-old put his hand up to concede the point and explained what happened. The crowd broke into applause.
WATCH: Incredible display of sportsmanship from Rohan Bopanna
At 5-3, Rajeev Ram saved the Championship with exemplary service.
Later in the post-match ceremony, Rajeev Ram tipped his hat to the pair of Bopanna/Ebden and acknowledged the display of sportsmanship.
"That sportsmanship today, we have been playing for 25 years. We would have no idea what happened. I have never seen something like that. Bops, you are an inspiration," said Rajeev after the final.
An inspirational character - on and off the field
Earlier on Thursday night, Rohan Bopanna created history after he became the oldest man in the Open Era at the age of 43 days and 188 days to reach a Grand Slam men's doubles final.
Bopanna was returning to the final of the US Open after 13 years. In 2010, along with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, famously known as the Indo-Pak Express, they had lost to the Bryan brothers in the final.
It was indeed one of the historic nights for the fans of Indian tennis as former India number one Somdev Devvarman and tennis ace Sania Mirza called it arguably, 'the biggest match of Bopanna's career'.
On his sportsmanship, talking after the match, Sania Mirza said, "In the commentary box, we were not surprised. This is how Bops is and that is how he plays the game. Now everyone knows about his greatness."
With this loss, the wait for a Grand Slam title for Indian tennis fans increases but by doing what he did today, in arguably one the biggest matches of his career, Rohan Bopanna showed that, sometimes, sports is more than just a win or loss, it is about respect and legacy.