Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan: 'Aim is to make a run in Grand Slam'

Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan achieved a new career-high ranking of 69 in 2018.

Jeevan-Nedunchezhiyan aims to be regular in the Grand Slams and crack the top-50.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

It has been a fabulous season for Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who made the doubles finals of ten Challengers, winning four of them.

Having reached a career-best doubles rank of 69 in November and competed in the main draws of Wimbledon and US Open, the 30-year-old Jeevan has set new targets for the forthcoming season and is inspired to work towards meeting them.

It was a fun few days at the Pro Tennis League organised by Aditya Khanna in the Capital, and Jeevan said that it was a nice experience for him to check out the new things that he had been working out in training with coach Manu Bajpai.

Even though he had won the ATP Tour title with Rohan Bopanna in 2017 in Chennai, Jeevan was thrilled with the work he had done this season.

"2018 will always be special for me, because there were a lot of firsts. First time finishing the year in double digit rank. A new career-high of 69. First Tour event final outside the country. First time, 10 Challenger finals in a season," Jeevan listed with satisfaction.

He was quick to point out that most of the success had been with Austin Krajicek of the US, but after the fine run reaching the quarterfinals at the US Open, Krajicek had stepped up into a different level.

Read: Jeevan named most valuable player in Pro-League Tennis

"You never know when we might play together in the future. The door is always open and we have become close friends while traveling on Tour since June," said Jeevan, who has made the main draw of the Pune Open ATP event, with Nick Monroe, starting next week.

"My target was to put myself in a position where I can start the year with a few Tour events. It is exciting to see the prospect of the partnership with Nick," said Jeevan.

He credits his recent spell of success to coach Manu Bajpai.

"Manu has been instrumental in my success this season. Looking ahead, we will try to travel together to as many events as possible. Travelling with a coach is a new expense and I am willing to invest in it to put myself in a position as the next few months are quite pivotal in taking the next step’’, Jeevan reasoned.

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Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Kamlesh Shukla on the way to winning the decisive fifth rubber for Tennis Fanatics against Sankara Aces in the Pro Tennis League in Delhi.   -  Kamesh Srinivasan

 

He has had fine success with Sriram Balaji and Purav Raja, as he had made Challenger finals with both. But, since he is the fourth-best ranked after Bopanna (37), Divij Sharan (39) and Leander Paes (69), Jeevan has opted to keep the options open, as far as partners are concerned.

"It is always nice to play with your countrymen. I am looking to improve as a team and work smart and hard. I don’t really look at the country of a player as a high priority. Whenever the rankings and schedule work out, I like to play with both Bala and Purav," he said.

Does he visualise making it the Olympics in Tokyo, especially in light of the Asian Games gold medallists Bopanna and Divij striking a partnership on the Tour.

"Olympics is not a target for me at the moment. My focus is more on improving my game and be regular on the Tour. Of course, team events are fun and I enjoy competing in all forms’’, he said.

Jeevan aims to be regular in the Grand Slams and crack the top-50.

"The dream is to make a run in a Grand Slam. I will continue working to achieve it as long as I am enjoying the Tour and my body lets me’’, he said.

Consciously, Jeevan has decided to cut the distractions and stay focused.

"I am making an active effort to not spend too much time on my phone and social media. It is helping me because, I personally can waste a lot of time scrolling and I am trying to cut it out’’, he said.

Nedunchezhiyan is a dynamo on court and ready to explode on the big stage.