Indo-Pak Express Break Up

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of,

Pakistan’s Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi and India’s Rohan Bopanna announced this week that they have dissolved their successful men’s tennis doubles partnership, which was hailed as a symbol of friendship between the rival nations. Bopanna told the Indian Express newspaper that he will team up with veteran compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi in 2012, while Qureshi will next partner Dutchman Jean-Julien Roger at the Australian Open in January.

“As the season has ended now, I can confirm that I am playing with Mahesh in 2012,” Bopanna said, declining to elaborate on the reason for parting ways with Qureshi after four years. “Who I want to play with is my decision… I did have a successful year with Aisam but now I am starting a new year with Mahesh, and it’s as simple as that.”

Bopanna and Qureshi, who joined hands in an unlikely partnership in 2007, shot to fame when they reached the US Open doubles final last year and are currently ranked ninth in the world. The duo actively promoted better India-Pakistan ties and even offered to play tennis over the land border dividing the two countries, which have a history of warfare and political tension.
Bopanna’s announcement also confirmed media speculation that India’s best-known men’s doubles combination of Bhupathi and Leander Paes, who won three Grand Slam titles, would not play together on the circuit.

Bopanna was non-committal on whether the decision to change partners was due to the London 2012 Olympics. “As of now Mahesh and I have decided to start the year together,” he said. “The Olympics have a lot of other technicalities like form and rankings, and we will see how it goes.”


Qureshi and Bopanna Fall in US Open Semis

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of,

2011_8$largeimg219_Aug_2011_184909403The Indo-Pak Express of tennis once again had a nice trek at the U.S. Open, but was ultimately derailed in the semifinals, as Pakistan’s Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi and his Indian partner Rohan Bopanna of Pakistan lost in the semifinals to the Polish team of Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski, 6-2, 7-6 (4). Qureshi and Bopanna were hampered by having to complete their quarterfinal match earlier the same day, in which they came back from a 5-2 third set deficit to win. In the end, as they told The New York Times, Fyrstenberg and Matkowski “both have really big games and they served really well and I think that was the difference,” Qureshi said. Qureshi and Bopanna were the number five seeds in the men’s doubles draw, while Fyrstenberg and Matkowski were the sixth seeded team.

After their semifinal match they elaborated further on the secret of their doubles success, telling The New York Times, “Sometimes I go down, I get down, and he’s telling me to stay positive. When he gets down, I keep telling him to get positive and keep the head up,” Qureshi said. “I have learned that even if you’re not playing best with your tennis, emotionally and physically with our attitude and presence, we can beat a lot of teams.”

“We spend more time with each other than family and friends,” Bopanna said. “We’ve known each other for 15 years now.” “For our cultures to be very similar I think it makes it easier for us to be on the court and that I would definitely say is one of the reasons why we have been so successful the past two years. If people can take positive things out of our relationship, our friendship, then obviously it’s a good thing.”

In addition to speaking the same language, Qureshi and Bopanna and like many of the same foods and hobbies. And they often hang out together, dine out together, and go to the movies and play golf together. But they may have a little less time to spend with each other beginning in a few months, as reports out of Pakistan indicate that Qureshi will be marrying his fiancé, Faha Akmal Makhdum, this December.