Third seed Sidharth Rawat outplayed Rio Noguchi of Japan 7-5, 6-0 to clinch his maiden title in the $25,000 ITF men’s Futures tennis tournament on Sunday.
With the ATP points being restored for events of this level, the 26-year-old Delhi lad will be able to improve his current rank of 510. He had a career-best rank of 430.
Having competed in the professional circuit for about 10 years, it was a long wait for Sidharth to win his maiden singles title, even though he had won the doubles title last year with Manish Sureshkumar.
Having been associated with coach Gaurav Sharma for nearly 15 years, first at the Team Tennis Academy in the Capital, and later at Gaurav’s centre in Defence Colony, Sidharth credited his coach for guiding him to play an attacking game.
“I had made three finals earlier. I could not cross the last hurdle. It was good that the title did not happen earlier, because it would have given me false hope with that previous game,” said Sidharth, who had made those finals twice in Jassowal, in Ludhiana, and once in Chennai in 2015-16.
Sidharth had lost to Shintaro Imai of Japan once, and had lost to compatriots Vijay Sundar Prashanth and Sasi Kumar Mukund in the other finals.
“I realised that I had to be more aggressive instead of just making it more physical and winning by grinding it out. I still remember staying with Prajnesh (Gunneswaran) during the Gimcheon Challenger in Korea a few years ago. He had also decided by then to risk dropping his rank but to play an aggressive game.
“It did not work for him for a long time, but I could see the process he was going through and now we know how things changed for him. I struggled a lot, but had decided that no matter what happens that I would play positive. My coach Gaurav Sharma made me trust the process,” said Sidharth.
He will be competing in two $25,000 events over the next fortnight in Hong Kong.
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