Never give up on dreams, says Nitten Kirrtane

The mixed doubles silver winner at the ITF Seniors World Championship says Leander and Mahesh have been his role models.

Nitten Kirrtane with his wife Rheeya and sons Arjun and Aaryan, during the ITF Seniors World Championship in Miami, US.   -  Special Arrangement

It has been a bumpy ride for Nitten Kirrtane, the three-time National tennis champion, who has won 12 national doubles titles, clinched medals in the Asian, SAF and World Railways Games, and been part of the Indian Davis Cup teams along with Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi.

The courage of the 44-year-old Nitten, and his passion for the game, are unmatched, as he showed by winning the mixed doubles silver with Vlada Kirilovska of Latvia in the ITF Seniors World Championship in Miami.

“The silver medal signifies the theory ‘never give up on dreams’. For me, success on the court means putting my best effort whether I win or lose,” said Nitten.

From being successful as a sub-junior to being runner-up in the Asian junior championship to finishing runner-up with Bhupathi in the junior doubles in Wimbledon in 1992, Nitten has been very competitive.

The picture of Nitten competing hard with a torn shoe in the Limca Masters junior event is still vivid in memory.

“From my junior days to the men’s circuit, and now to the seniors circuit, I play hard which means I have to be physically fit,” he said.

Nitten looks up to Paes and Bhupathi.

“Leander and Mahesh have always been my role models since I grew up playing with them. I still salute Leander for his competitive spirit and playing at the highest level after achieving almost everything on court.

"That has been a motivating factor for me. I still compete in the AITA men’s circuit. I cannot lose my competitive edge,” said Nitten.

Life had taken a tough spin in 2005, when Nitten met with a car accident.

“The road accident was a harsh incident, something which I would like to forget. I was very close to death. I still remember the day and it brings tears to my eyes as we lost a close friend for no fault of ours.”

Deeply in love with the game, Nitten, who changed the spelling of his name from Nitin Kirtane, got back to it, with full strength.

“I feel tennis is everything for me. Being on court, made me forget the pain,” he said.