Australian tennis player Matt Ebden has spoken out against age discrimination in the sport. He and 43-year-old Rohan Bopanna won the men’s doubles title at Melbourne Park on Saturday night. Ebden, who is 36 years old, assisted Bopanna in securing his first men’s doubles grand-slam victory. They defeated the Italian team of Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori 7-6 (0), 7-5 in the final on Rod Laver Arena.
Bopanna holds the record for being the oldest winner of a men’s doubles grand slam in the Open era. He will also become the oldest player to hold the No. 1 ranking next week when the rankings are updated. According to Ebden, there is a lesson to be learned from those who underestimate older players, as Bopanna has faced discrimination in the tennis world.
Some individuals have made comments about Bopanna’s age, but he questions why it matters. Bopanna believes that age should not be a factor in judging someone’s tennis skills. While some younger players show respect towards their older counterparts, Bopanna believes that older players also have valuable experience and insight to offer.
The Australian, who has claimed victories at Wimbledon and Melbourne Park in the men’s doubles category, expressed that discrimination based on age is prevalent in society. He stated, “We tend to view older individuals and make assumptions that they are not fit for certain jobs or tasks. But why should that be the case? We are all human beings and we should embrace equality in all forms.”
At the beginning of last year, the duo joined forces and made it to the US Open finals in a prosperous season that boosted their standings. They have equal ranking points, however, Bopanna will hold the top spot since Ebden participated in three additional tournaments during the calculation period.
Bopanna took home the French Open mixed doubles title in 2017, but said that this year’s title at Melbourne Park tops even that achievement. “Without a doubt, [it is] the best moment in my career. There are so many thoughts which are running in the head, it’s as if it’s ready to explode,” he said. “I guess when you win, this is what happens. I’ve ever been on this side of life so it’s nice to do this.”
Ebden described this win as a standout moment, even though it may not surpass his 2022 Wimbledon victory with Max Purcell. “I have to be honest, Wimbledon holds a special significance for us as tennis players,” he stated. “However, this achievement is just as satisfying, if not more so, because it was accomplished in front of our loved ones and fellow Australians at home.”
He also mentioned that it was impressive that two players from the area emerged victorious in the tournament known as the Asia-Pacific grand slam.