Veteran tennis star Rohan Bopanna and partner Matthew Ebden won the Indian Wells Masters title early on Sunday after beating top seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neil Skupski 6-3, 2-6, 10-8. This was Bopanna’s fifth Masters title and Ebden’s first.

The win also made the 43-year-old Indian the oldest ever ATP Masters champion, beating Daniel Nestor’s record (the Canadian was 12 days short of his 43rd birthday when he won the Cincinnati Masters in 2015).

Replug: Rohan Bopanna, wiser on court and healthy off it, finds no reason to stop after two decades on tour

“I spoke to Daniel Nestor, I told him sorry but I’m going to beat your record. I was already the oldest by being in the final, but winning it, that stays with me,” Bopanna said after the final.

“(It’s) truly special. I’ve been coming and seeing these guys win here over the years. I’m really happy that Matt and me were able to do this and get this title here. It’s been some tough matches, close matches. And today we came against one of the best teams here and really happy that we got the title.

Bopanna later added in the post-match press conference: “I think it’s always special when you get any record as such, but the biggest I think feeling for me is that I was able to pursue my tennis, keep it going, and still believe that I could win big tournament.”

In their first season as a doubles pair, Bopanna and Ebden have now won their second title after winning the Doha Open last month. They had also reached the final at the Rotterdam Open.

On Sunday though, a day after they beat defending champions Jack Sock and John Isner in the semifinal, there was no denying Bopanna-Ebden.

They did lose the first point of the super tie-break, but won the next two points and would not let go of the lead. Eventually, they closed out the match after Bopanna launched another big serve and Ebden intercepted the weak return on the net to finish the point.

At 43, this was Bopanna’s 24th career title.

“The biggest thing is to make sure you recover well after matches, that’s what’s helped me,” Bopanna said when asked about his longevity.

“Travelling with a physio, travelling with a coach, investing in yourself is the most important part. Especially when you’re getting older. Some days I tell Matt that I’ll maybe practice for 20 minutes to rest the body and be ready for matches. That’s really been the key.”

Stat nuggets:

  • The Indian and Aussie are now 11-4 in 1st season together, winning Doha title after advancing to Rotterdam final. 
  • They defeated 2018 and 2022 Indian Wells champion Isner/Sock 7-6(6) 7-6(2) in SF on Friday night.
  • Bopanna is a former World No. 3 who is currently ranked No. 15 and projected to rise to No. 11 with this win. World No. 37 Ebden has been ranked as high as No. 24, which he is projected to pass. 
  • Bopanna, who turned 43 on 4 March, passed former partner Nestor to become oldest ATP Masters 1000 finalist and now the winner too. 
  • Bopanna came into his 10th ATP Masters 1000 final, winning his 5th and the most recent title at 2017 Monte Carlo  with Cuevas.
  • It was Bopanna’s 24th ATP Tour doubles title in 56th tour-level final. He reached 2010 US Open final with Qureshi. Ebden, 35, clinched his 9th tour-level title in 16th final ( and a first ATP Masters 1000). He had captured 2022 Wimbledon title with Purcell. 

And there’s no signs of him slowing down either. In fact, the Masters title was just a way for them to lay down the marker.

“We respect all our opponents, but we know what we’re capable of. We spoke at the start of the year and we said we don’t want to be making up numbers,” Ebden, 35, said.

“We want to be winning the Grand Slams, the Masters, the 500s and make try to get to that No 1 ranking. Today is a big step in that direction.”

The duo is next expected to compete at the Miami Masters.