ROHAN, every Indian should be proud of you as a fellow Indian who showed up the REAL VALUE of INDIAN CHARACTER!

So it will be recorded in the history of world tennis in the ‘open’ era that Rohan Bopanna, men’s doubles’ legend from Coorg & Bengaluru in India became the oldest ever player to contest the finals of a Grand Slam at the US Open in 2023. This happened 13 years after he last played a Final at the US Open. Well, he narrowly lost a close contest and possibly his best and arguably last chance at age 43, to win a Major Grand Slam title. May he come back for more!

This is mere detail for the record books. What will never be recorded there is a small act that made him a giant among human beings and sporting professionals. At a tense moment in the match, he owned up and called out a mistake that went unnoticed even by television cameras, to forfeit a point to the opponent! ONLY he knew and possibly his partner Mathew Ebden of a slight grazing deflection off his elbow when a shot from his partner went across the net to be a winner. I suspect that his Aussie partner Ebden, might have even wondered whether he should own up at all as it was the Umpire’s job to catch the error. At least that is what Australian cricketers have often opened up as the debate on whether we should leave it to the system to catch a breach of rules or play fair. Rohan reminded the Chair Umpire to reverse the score and forfeit a point at a key moment – almost unheard of in modern sport where stakes of money earnt is so high and it doubles with a win in every round! Especially in tennis and more so at the US Open it’s about high paychecks with every victory with almost astronomical disparity.

Rohan Bopanna lost the Championship trophy but won millions of hearts all around the world in a split second! He set an example for ETHICAL CLARITY.

At Mantra, my Consulting company, we often speak of the A-B-C-D MODEL FOR PERSONAL LEADERSHIP! A is for ATTITUDE that decides B for BEHAVIOUR revealing one’s C or CHARACTER and that creates one’s D or DESTINY!

Rohan Bopanna’s ATTITUDE over the last three decades has been the same and in that one memorable moment, his behaviour revealed his noble CHARACTER. He will, in fact, go down in history, destined to be a true WINNER in sport.

I hope in the light of all the focus of the global G20 Conference in India this weekend, more Young Indians will have learnt from this small act on the world’s biggest tennis arena that following ETHICS & MORALITY in chasing one’s dreams or earning one’s affluent livelihood makes one a true winner – like ROHAN BOPANNA! That is India’s true contribution to world Ethics – it’s all about how you behave when nobody is watching! Also about doing unto others as you would unto yourself!