James Duckworth of Australia was crowned the men's singles champion of the Bengaluru Open 2020 after defeating Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi in the final. Meanwhile, Indian tennis legend Leander Paes was given a befitting farewell at the Karnataka State Lawn Tennis Association courts.
Those present to bid adieu to the 46-year-old veteran included Former Minister for IT&BT and Tourism and Chairman of the organizing committee, Mr Priyank Kharge, Hockey Olympian Jude Felix, swimmers Reshma and Nisha Millet, athletes Pramila Aiyappa, Ashwini Nachappa, Reeth Abraham, hockey internationals Raghunath Vakkliga, Arjun Halappa and Davis Cupper Prahlad Srinath.
The former Olympians and sporting heroes from various disciplines relived the different moments they shared with Paes which prompted an emotional reaction from the 18-time Grand Slam champion who played the last ATP tour match of his career on Indian soil on Saturday.
The Kolkata-born sporting legend who became the second man after Rod Laver to win Wimbledon titles in three different decades thanked the former Olympians and international athletes for gracing the event.
"All of you taught me about the passion for sport, dedication and hard work. All of which helps us to achieve success.”
Paes requested the audience to give the sporting legends a standing ovation before the men's singles finals began at Bengaluru.
Frenchman Benjamin Bonzi who had felled many a big seed over the last week failed to get the better of James Duckworth in the men's singles final, going down 4-6, 4-6.
The Australian has, thus, rounded off his campaign in India with a title under his belt after having made it to the semifinals of the Maharashtra Open 2020 at Pune.
Duckworth took just 68 minutes to overcome the Frenchman who had been in good nick at Bengaluru and stated after the match that he was prepared for what was coming.
“I was aware he had beaten some good players in this tournament. I was kind of prepared for this and luckily I played my best today.”
The champion joked that he would like to stay on in India after tasting great success over the last fortnight.
“I have had a good run on Indian soil these two weeks. I may think of applying for citizenship. I am very happy to win here. It was a quality field and organized very efficiently. This win has given me the confidence to try and get to the top 50."