After Asian Games 2018 high, Divij Sharan chases tennis Grand Slam glory
Divij Sharan and Rohan Bopanna defeated Aleksander Bublik and Denis Yevseyev of Kazakhstan 6-3 6-4 in a 52-minute final to claim India’s first tennis gold of the ongoing Games.Updated: Aug 28, 2018 08:45 IST
Divij Sharan has hardly got time to celebrate his men’s doubles gold at the Asian Games. Immediately after the medals ceremony, Divij made a dash to the airport to catch a flight to New York where he will be fancying his chances with partner Artem Sitak at the US Open.
The Delhi boy has been in hot form this year and has climbed to No 38 in world rankings in doubles, the second Indian in the charts after Rohan Bopanna. At Wimbledon Championships, Divij and Sitak defeated some quality pairs and reached the quarter-finals where they lost to eventual champions Mike Bryan and Jack Sock.
Divij had also made it to the round of 16 at the Australian Open and French Open last year but with different partners. Finally, he has combined with Sitak of New Zealand for a longer duration and that he feels will bring more consistency in results.
“I will have a fixed partner in Artem Sitak on tour this year. We have done well in the last couple of tournaments. For the first time I reached the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 tournament (Citi Open), made it to Wimbledon quarter-finals and have reached a career-high ranking of 36 this year. So I am feeling positive about my game, I feel I am in great space and that’s a good sign for any player,” Divij said in an interview.
They will play American pair of Even Zhu and Martin Redlicki in their opening match of US Open on Wednesday
“I definitely feel a Grand Slam doubles title is achievable. I have lost some close matches at Grand Slams against top combinations that could have gone either way. When you see that some of them have gone on to win the title, you feel that there was a chance. In Wimbledon, we really ran them (Bryan and Sock) close and it was touch and go. That has given us a lot of confidence as a pair going into the US Open,” said the 32-year-old.
Left-handed Divij first achieved initial success with Purav Raja and won two Tour titles with him, the first one coming in Bagota in 2013. Last year, he won the European Open in Antwerp with Scott Lipsky. Divij made his Davis Cup debut for India in 2012 but over the years he didn’t have much of an opportunity to play. The gold medal at the Asian Games has added to his confidence.
“Well, it was a dream come true and the feeling is yet to sink in. It was quite hectic and then immediately we had to leave for US Open. But it is very encouraging to win for the country. Coming through such tough matches always gives you confidence.”
After the display in Jakarta, Divij is likely to pair up with Bopanna for the World Group playoff Serbia tie next month. “I will be looking forward to playing with Rohan If I am picked. We know each other well and we didn’t feel anything new when we played in Jakarta. We were very comfortable from the beginning. We reached there three days before and were well prepared. Rohan has a big game and we complement each other.”
First Published: Aug 28, 2018 08:31 IST