Australian Matt Ebden has helped Indian veteran Rohan Bopanna finally break through for his first grand slam doubles title.
The pair took out the Australian Open on Saturday night with a 7-6(0) 7-5 win over Italian pair Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori.
Bopanna, who is still going strong at 43, will also become the oldest first-time world No.1 when the rankings are updated next week.
Watch the latest sport on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>
The Indian has reached two previous grand slam finals, but this is his first major title from 61 attempts.
Bopanna, whose only previous slam win was in the mixed doubles at the French Open in 2017, was playing in his 17th Australian Open, with his 12th different partner.
It’s Wimbledon men’s doubles champion Ebden’s third major title, 11 years since he won his first in the mixed doubles in Melbourne.
The victory also completes a rare trend for locals with this the third straight year an Australian has triumphed.
Rinky Hijikata and Jason Kubler won last year, while Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis were the champions in 2022.
The winning pair celebrate their title. Credit: AAP
“What an amazing tournament. Thanks to my partner Rohan; he is 43 years old, it is is first men’s grand slam doubles final,” Ebden said.
“Age truly really is not even a number for this guy. He is young at heart. He is a champion and a warrior and he has fought hard by my side this whole last year.
“It has been such a dream come true to win here in Australia in front of our home fans so thank you so much.”
Little separated the pairings in a tight final, with Bopanna and Ebden, who have played together for almost 12 months, coming up with the goods when it mattered.
The first set stayed on serve and went to a tie-break, which they stormed through effortlessly without dropping a single point.
The second set played out the same way until at 5-5 Bopanna and Ebden broke Vavassori to love, allowing the Australian to serve for the match.
The “Big Bopper” Bopanna iced the win when he smashed the ball at the net to seal the straight sets triumph.
Bopanna joked he was at “level 43” rather than aged 43.
“Obviously this could not have been possible if I do not have a fantastic Aussie partner by my side so thank you to Matt,” he said.
“We have had a fantastic season last year and for me to win my first men’s doubles grand slam here, thank you.”
– With AAP