Divij Sharan was understandably delighted to win his second ATP Tour title of the season in St. Petersburg with Igor Zelenay of Slovakia on Sunday.
But there was not much time to celebrate the win, as he flew into Zhuhai, China, for the next ATP event, in which he will be partnering Artem Sitak of New Zealand.
“It is always a big moment to win a Tour event. This is the first time I have won a second title in the same year, so it is even more special,” Divij told Sportstar .
After the brilliant start to the season in winning the title with Rohan Bopanna in the ATP event in Pune, it has been a tough progress for Divij.
“I lost early in Winston Salem and the US Open. So, it has been an encouraging last three weeks for me to have come around and won the big $125,000 Challenger in Jinan and now the ATP Tour event in St. Petersburg,” said a relieved Divij.
READ| Divij Sharan clinches St. Petersburg doubles title
Divij — who could not continue with Bopanna as the duo were not getting into the big events with their combined rank — has been playing with many partners.
“There are not that many tournaments left this year. I will need higher-ranked partners to get into the bigger ATP 500 and 1000 events. So, I will be on the look out and hopefully be able to play in some of them,” he said.
Divij had closed his season in October last year, but hopes to build his rank this time, for the season ahead.
“The goal is to continue to build on the recent performances and be able to play all the ATP Tour events leading up to Paris. Getting my ranking up by another 5-10 spots should help with that,” reasoned Divij, who is ranked 49th in the world of doubles.
Thanks to the TOPS scheme of the Union Sports Ministry, Divij has a coach and trainer for some weeks during the summer. “I worked with coach Tiago Leivas through the clay and grass season while I was playing with Marcelo Demoliner.”
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He also had trainer Anand Dubey with him for eight weeks.
How does he manage when there is no coach or trainer? “As a professional doubles player, you are required to travel and play tournaments for around 35 to 40 weeks in a year. So, the off-season or training period is almost non-existent. That is why traveling with a coach and trainer/physio becomes very crucial. You need to work on your game and fitness simultaneously while playing tournaments,” said Divij.
“I have been traveling alone for the last few weeks as my schedule has been very unpredictable. But I hope to get some help again at my tournaments soon,” he said.
The Asian Games doubles gold medallist with Bopanna, Divij is keen for a good finish to the season.
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