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Ebden reflects on rise to world No.1: "It's a little bit surreal"

  • Leigh Rogers

Matt Ebden has achieved a major career milestone, officially becoming the world's No.1 doubles player.

"It's a little bit surreal," the 36-year-old from Perth told

Ebden overtakes his Indian partner Rohan Bopanna in the latest instalment of the ATP Tour doubles rankings.

"I’m a little bit lost for words," he admitted.

"In the past two, three years when I started on this doubles track, I always thought I’d have this little sub-career in doubles and try to win all the Slams and get a real high ranking. I thought it would be great if I could get to the top 10.

"I quickly realised I’m probably one of the best doubles players in the world, if not the best. So I wanted to try to aim for that and get to that No.1 ranking."

Ranked No.37 at this time last year, Ebden has soared up the rankings since establishing a successful partnership with Bopanna.

The duo have won 15 of their past 17 Grand Slam matches, which includes their Australian Open 2024 triumph, as well as a US Open runners-up finish and Wimbledon semifinal appearance.

They also contested a tour-leading four ATP 1000 finals last season.

Becoming only the fifth Australian to top the men's doubles rankings, Ebden said his rapid rise had "surprised me in the best way ever".

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"I’ve done my time and the hard slog all around the world for nearly 20 years and it’s very, very difficult," said Ebden, who peaked at world No.39 in singles in 2018.

"But looking back now at how quickly things have happened for me on the doubles front, winning multiple Slams and being world No.1 within two to three years of taking doubles really seriously and focusing on it, I couldn’t be happier.

"I probably would have thought it would have happened sometime in the next two, three or four years. For all of it to happen super quick, I’m really, really happy about it."

At 36, Ebden becomes the third oldest man to debut at world No.1 in doubles. Only Bopanna (at age 43 last month) and American Rajeev Ram (at age 38 in 2022) were older when they achieved the feat.

"I definitely don’t take anything for granted," Ebden said. "Which makes it even sweeter to be winning Slams, getting to No.1 and getting those big major life goals ticked off now."

There's no shortage of motivation either as Ebden looks to achieve more doubles success.

"Now it’s trying to think, ‘Wow, how great can you be? How many Slams can you win? How much can you dominate? Can you win enough to be in contention for the Hall of Fame one day?'" he said.

He also lists chasing Davis Cup and Olympic glory as among his biggest goals.

"It’s a big relief and achievement to have got the No.1 on your resume," Ebden acknowledged.

"To win Slams and become the world No.1, there’s not too much else you can ask for, but I’d like to win all the other Slams and Olympics and Davis Cup. 

"Those are the things that are still going to keep me motivated and buzzing this year and in the years to come."