Divij Sharan looks to step up after doubles qualification for Halle Open

Divij Sharan will partner with Marcelo Demoliner for the ATP 500 event.

Divij Sharan with Marcelo Demoliner, his partner for the ATP 500 Halle Open.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Divij Sharan is totally devoted to his tennis, hopping across the world. Despite not having regular partners, he has managed to get good results in the professional circuit, in which he feels "doubles is crazy, especially on the grass courts."

Happy to have qualified for the ATP-500 event in Halle, Germany, winning two matches, Divij said that he would be competing along with Marcelo Demoliner of Brazil till Wimbledon.

"Earlier players used to make a team for the whole year. Now, in a few weeks or two to three months, players in the top-30 to 40 ranking, change partners, if things do not work well," remarked Divij, from Halle.

"It is a different world. We are travelling from tournament to tournament all the time. Only when I come home briefly once in a while, I get to know what is happening back home," said the 32-year-old Divij who had made it to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon last year.

He did start the season well by winning the Pune ATP event with Rohan Bopanna apart from the Davis Cup doubles rubber against Italy in Kolkata. Then, the two opted to part ways in pursuit of higher goals, after the Phoenix Challenger in the second week of March, and ended up facing each other in the first round of the ATP event in Munich.

"In the match tie-break, we were up 8-2 or so and then Bopanna and partner were leading 9-8. We managed to pull it off at 12-10. Doubles matches change very quickly," recalled Divij, who went on to make the final in that event with Marcelo Demoliner, in only their fourth tournament as a pair.

"In Stuttgart, we had 10 match points against Denys Molchanov and Artem Sitak. Eight of them were on their serve. Not that we played bad. We had two match points on our serve, and they played great points. I take it in my stride. But Demoliner, is quite serious about his tennis and feels the loss more," observed Divij.

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With Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, Purav Raja, Leander Paes, Sriram Balaji, Vishnu Vardhan being regular on the doubles circuit, there is a strong Indian presence from Challengers upwards.

"It is good that we have so many of our players in the tournaments. We get along well. Singles is hard, but Sumit Nagal is getting good results now after being a bit down. We get to catch up with him," said Divij.

The Petroleum tennis is one event in which all the players get together, and get to watch some new young players as well.

It has been tough for Prajnesh, of late, with a shoulder injury, and Divij said that it was very demanding to competing in singles, as the game has become ‘’very physical’’.

"Somdev (Devvarman) had the best fitness and did a great job at this level. Looking at Rafael Nadal, it is amazing how he has been able to cope with it despite all the injuries and still find a way to win the French Open,’’ remarked Divij.

With the World Cup cricket on for some more time, Divij said that he would like to catch up with it  once in England, as it was difficult to watch cricket on television in some of the European countries.

Having competed in the last 10 Grand Slams, Divij, ranked 44 in the world, as compared to a career best rank of 36, hoped to step it up further.