Jeevan, Purav to partner in doubles till French Open

Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Purav Raja have decided to partner together for the next few weeks on the tour.

Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (left) and Purav Raja during a practice session at the SDAT Tennis stadium in Chennai.   -  Special Arrangement

After Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan decided to partner for the 2019 season and played well to get India back into the Davis Cup tie briefly on Saturday, another Indian pair in Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and Purav Raja have likewise decided to partner together for the next few weeks on the tour.

Incidentally, the duo was to start their partnership here in the Chennai ATP Challenger on Monday, but due to a last-minute change, got into the ATP 250 event in Bulgaria that starts in two days and will be heading there tonight.

Speaking at the SDAT Tennis stadium here on Saturday, Jeevan said, “We played together quite a few times last year but this is the first time we are planning to play a few tournaments together and stick as a team. We have known each other for a long time so it is exciting.”

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The 33-year-old Purav who had won titles with Sharan in the past and had a brief partnership with Leander Paes for a while is also looking to take a fresh guard with a set partner and said the duo will be working for 10 weeks until the French Open with a target to make the cut for the second Grand Slam of the year.

“I have played with lefties on the deuce side in past and Jeeva is one of the fittest guys on tour. He is as good as some of the successful partners I have had in the past and I think we can form a team that’s just as formidable. So I don’t see why we can’t be a threat on world doubles tour,” said Purav.

Adding on to it Jeevan said, “our first target is to gel well as a team and find our strengths and weakness and convert into positive things. I do well with guys who can return well and Purav is one of the best returners which complements well with my movement near the net. More importantly, the fact that we are from the same country and quite experienced on the doubles tour matters when you are playing a long season.”

“We would like to be another set team from India that is capable of a lot of good things in the future.”

Earlier this week, Indian Davis Cup captain Mahesh Bhupathi had said that the country needed to focus on singles saying any more doubles success won't matter much. When asked about that duo were far from impressed with the statement.

Purav remarked, “We are lucky to have what we have so many guys playing in Grand Slams and five guys in the top 100. I would love to have it in singles but these are not created overnight. We have not made the doubles finals in six years at Grand Slams. By this logic, we have done well in singles with Vijay Amritraj as well. So we don't have to focus on anything. It is all relative.”

Jeevan added, “It is easy to say we need to create something in singles but unless you have a structure and an organised system, it is hard to create what Japan or China is doing. We have the potential but we need a cohesive system with the government and the federation.”