Levin Safoor Mydeen: From meeting Djokovic to Asian U-14 title

Levin Safoor Mydeen, 13, recently won the Asian under-14 title at the Modern School, Barakhamba Road, in the Capital, without dropping a set.

Levin Safoor Mydeen, with the Asian under-14 tennis tournament winner's trophy in Delhi.   -  KAMESH SRINIVASAN

Levin Safoor Mydeen. The name has not been heard much in the junior tennis circles in the country. Yet, the 13-year-old boy, a student of Pushpalata Vidya Mandir in Tirunelveli, did catch one’s attention by winning the Asian under-14 title at the Modern School, Barakhamba Road, in the Capital, without dropping a set.

World No.1 Novak Djokovic knew about the boy, even before the pandemic, as an under-12 champion of the Mubadala Championship in Abu Dhabi in 2019.

Levin, on a vacation with his family at his uncle’s place in Abu Dhabi, did elicit a comment from Djokovic, ‘’I want to see you playing in Wimbledon, 10 years from now’’. This was after a nice interaction and hitting session with the World No.1, which was part of the reward for winning six matches for the title.

He also got to meet Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sharapova among others, getting autographs and photos, apart from the miniature of the real trophy.

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‘’Djokovic gave Levin his racquet and played with him for about 15 minutes’’, said the father of the boy, Safoor Mydeen, a branch manager of HDFC Bank.

Levin has been training on one court of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu (SDAT) at the Anna Stadium in Tirunelveli, with coach Kumaramanimaran for the last six years.

‘’The boy is talented and committed. Even after about a week at the start, he was able to hit a 100-shot rally on forehand. He is a quick learner. If he builds more muscle mass, he will be able to bring more power to his game. Our target is to make him strong physically, technically and mentally by the time he is 18. We are ready to avoid early results to ensure that he stays injury free’’, said Manimaran, quite caring and concerned for the proper growth of the boy.

After the under-14 title in the Asian event, Levin got a main draw entry for the under-16 event the following week and lost only to the eventual champion, top seed Dhruv Sachdeva, in the semifinals.

The encouraging results in the heat of Delhi, have been heart warming for the family and the coach, who hope that the boy would get suitable support to pursue his tennis dreams.

‘’We are seeking three more clay courts to cater to so many different levels of players. We are in touch with the District Collector who has assured help’’, said coach Manimaran.

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