Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan back on the pro Tour in the US

"I am excited to play on the Tour with Sriram Balaji again. It'll take time to get back to my level before lockdown, but I accept it," Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan claimed.

"I do not expect the road back to the top-100 to be easy, but that is my goal," Indian tennis player Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan added (File Photo).   -  FILE PHOTO/V. SREENIVASA MURTHY

After enduring hard quarantine for two weeks in Singapore, where he was negative for coronavirus all the time, Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan is back on the professional Tour, competing in the Orlando Challenger in the US.

"I am excited to play on the Tour with Sriram Balaji again. It will take time to get back to my level before lockdown, but I accept it. I don’t expect the road back to top 100 to be easy, but that is my goal. It is a matter of staying fit, planning the right schedule and keeping the morale high," said Jeevan, from Orlando.

Even though he was disillusioned, as he could not "even step out for fresh air", during the hard quarantine, when a fellow passenger in the flight had been found positive for the virus, Jeevan took the entire episode in his stride.

"I did my strength work. Could not do much otherwise. After quarantine, while trying to train, I pulled my left adductor. That put me out for another 10 days," recalled Jeevan.

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Even though Jeevan could not play the ATP event in Singapore, he and his partner Yuki Bhambri were given the first round prize money. Moreover, ATP also took care of the quarantine expenses of Jeevan.

The extended stay away from tennis helped Jeevan celebrate his fourth marriage anniversary with his wife, golfer Neha. "That kept my spirits up. It is a tough situation for a lot of people in many different ways. I see things in perspective, and count my blessings," added Jeevan.

Jeevan does feel that many players on the tennis tour have a bit of "an inflated ranking", owing to the new rules, which may be a disadvantage for him to tackle. He has slipped to 192, from a career best 64.

"As long as I am working on my game and staying fit, I am confident about getting back to double digits rank and competing in a Grand Slam again. It is all about patience and acceptance," he reasoned.

Right through the lockdown, Jeevan was busy making the K-Resort in Puducherry lively. He wants to conduct tennis tournaments for men, women and juniors at his 30-acre property.

"If we can make it a hub for tournaments, it will improve the rankings and numbers of players at a higher level for sure," he said. For the moment, Jeevan’s focus is on playing tennis, while his wife Neha trains in Chandigarh for the next set of golf events.