When I first met Rohan he was a thin gangly 11 year old. His father Prabha [Bopanna] is the younger brother of Raja [Nanjappa] who is a very dear friend and neighbor [also golfing buddy of over twenty years!].’Doc, look at this boy, he wants to play tennis, how can he ever with his eating habits’ Prabha said pointing to the grinning boy. ‘What eating habits’ I asked. He likes only bread and honey and occasional glass of milk the father said. This worried statement made both of us laugh and I don’t remember exactly what advice I gave the boy then. Kodagas [Coorgs] like their meat and no meal is complete if there is no meat dish preferably pork and naturally the father was worried about this bread and honey eating boy.
Then on there have been many occasions when I met Rohan either as a patient or when he came to stay with his uncle [Raja]. His build makes him Injury prone and his whole carrier is bedeviled by many injuries mainly to his right shoulder [serving arm]. As a matter of fact with his ability and character he should have achieved much more as a singles player but for his injuries. Rohan is one of the most self effacing boy [man] I have ever met. Success sits very lightly on his head. He is the same Rohan whom I met for the first time some 15 years ago.
He met Aslam [Qureshi] about ten years back and they have started playing doubles together some five years back when Rohan shifted his priority from singles to doubles and the pair began making history. Their reaching Wimbledon QF and now US open final has made all of us very happy and proud. So much so, despite winning today’s golf match and the bet of beer, Raja did not allow our opponents to buy and celebrated Rohan’s victory by buying drinks for all of us!
It is very big news for us In India and many like us I am sure in Pakistan,to see these two men who have shown how the two countries can get along and as Aslam rightly said,’ leave religion and politics behind and play tennis!’