The tough 90-minute encounter on the hardcourts in Bogota had left them totally exhausted. So, it had to be a simple dinner before catching some sleep and then packing up for an early morning flight to the US. So, were there no celebrations at all? “The victory hasn’t sunk in,” said Purav Raja. “I’m trying to take it all in.”
He was still finding it hard to believe that with good friend Divij Sharan, they had claimed their maiden ATP World Tour 250 doubles event title in the Colombian capital. The fourth-seeded Indian duo defeated second seeds Edouard Roger-Vasselin and Igor Sijsling 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3), gaining 250 ranking points and $35,000 in prize money.
“It was not an easy match. We were a break down but fought our way back into the tie,” Purav explained.
For Delhi boy Divij, tournaments of this stature are all about opportunities. Having played the Challengers and Futures for sometime now, this was his third ATP Tour tournament but it was the first with Purav. “Getting points from this tournament and the earlier one in Newport (where he reached the semis with Ivo Karlovic) are on top of my list,” the world No. 84 said. “I’ve had to defend points after making a few finals last year so this victory definitely helps. It’s absolutely crucial to capitalise on such opportunities.”
Though good friends, it took a while before they finally decided to team up. They pocketed the Kyoto Challenger in March before making the finals at Leon, Johannesburg and Nottingham. The precious points culminated in their getting through to the Wimbledon qualifiers, where they progressed to the main draw.
So, what’s next? “Well, the US Open would be nice,” laughed Purav. “Getting an entry is at the back of our minds. The cut is still a few weeks away but we seem to be on track. It will be really nice to see the rankings when they come out on Monday.”
From Colombia, they head to Lexington to play the $50,000 Challenger next week. “Let’s not get ahead ourselves but the aim is definitely Flushing Meadows,” added Divij.
What about the celebrations? “Maybe once we reach the US… We’ll probably head out to dinner or something before the next tournament starts. This victory is just a jump forward. We need to stay on track,” was Purav’s level-headed reply.