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After first win, Jeevan looks for more

In what was a change from the usual, tennis fans were treated to an all-Indian doubles final at the Chennai Open and the icing on the cake was Tamil Nadu’s Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan’s triumph with partner Rohan Bopanna beating Purav Raja and Divij Sharan in straight sets (6-3, 6-4).

After first win, Jeevan looks for more
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Jeevan and Rohan Bopanna after winning the doubles final of Chennai Open

Chennai

Jeevan, who has risen through the ranks, to be a player to watch out for has put in the hard yards and the results have been forthcoming. The southpaw said change in tactics in the second set helped them overcome the challenge with ease. “During the middle of the match the tactics didn’t come well. During the entire tournament, we didn’t feel much pressure. But Purav and Divij returned very well. We had to make some changes in the second set and communicate well. That turned the match in our favour,” he said. 

It was this quality of adapting that has given Jeevan an edge over his compatriots. Tamil Nadu Tennis Association vice-president Karti P Chidambaram lauded the youngster’s work ethic for the youngster’s success. 

“He has been one of the players who has shown tremendous improvement in the last year or so. He is a fighter on court and is very hard working. He has made the maximum use of the limited resources available,” he said. 

For Jeevan, it all boiled down to enjoying the moment. He played his first ATP World Tour final and ended on the right side of the result. “I loved the moment. It is great when you are playing in your backyard. Already being in the final and not being seeded it is already a great start to the season. Rohan and I went out there and it was just hit some balls like we always did – once in the morning and once before the match. I didn’t feel any pressure because he kept me in the moment. He never made me feel like it is a huge match or anything like that. I had a great time and I felt I took another little step towards getting better,” he said. 

But what did the senior pro advise him before the game? “Pretty much what he’s been telling me the whole time – have fun – go after your shots – believe in your strokes. He is not the guy to settle for less. So, it is rubbing off. I can see it in patches and I would love to get more consistent in the things I am doing,” Jeevan added. 

Jeevan is optimistic of a good season ahead. “I am not playing next week anywhere because I signed up for Australian open with Dudi Sela and I might try to go to Melbourne to try to sign up onsite. But after that, I am scheduled to play in three weeks with Christopher (from Indonesia), who I played with towards the end of last year. It was our first time together and we went back to back finals in Japan. It was good chemistry with him on the court and will give it a shot for the first three weeks. Then we will see how it goes from there,” he added.

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