Two titles on his first visit to India. Romanian Victor Crivoi, who recently participated in the ITF Futures tournament, has set his sights on bigger goals
On a pleasant sunny afternoon when he went to practise at the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association courts in Chennai for the MCC-S.R. Subramaniam Memorial International Tennis Federation men’s $10,000-Futures tournament, Victor Crivoi was surprised, to put it mildly, looking at the clay court surface. “I came to play much before the qualifiers along with a countrymate. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The court was full of leaves.”
After a full six days, the Romanian, seeded No.1, emerged a worthy winner, overcoming Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of India who gave a tough fight in the final, and was thrilled not only with his first title on his first visit to India but also with the way the courts were transformed within days. “It was a job well done. The courts were done up really well,” said Crivoi, clutching the trophy and the cheque for Rs. 75,000.
When he was world-ranked 75 in 2009, Crivoi’s approach to the game was obviously different from what it is now. After the win over American James Blake in the first round of the Rome Masters Series, Crivoi’s stock was at its apogee. He has played in all the Grand Slams, but hasn't gone past the second round in any of them.
Now, the 30-year-old is pragmatic about his goals, and looks back on the downfall as a matter of routine in a sportsperson’s life. “Injuries are part and parcel of an athlete’s life. I’ve had my share of them. I broke my leg while training nearly four years ago. My rankings fell. I worked hard on my game since, and am keen to work my way up,” he said.
Crivoi won the second leg in Madurai too after the Chennai triumph. More than the twin titles, the Romanian is eager to improve his rankings and play in the qualifiers of the upcoming French Open. “I want to get my rankings to around 150 so that I can compete in Roland Garros,” said Crivoi, currently 237.
Having clinched 18 ITF Futures singles titles in his career, Crivoi knows he has to reach the next level (again), as age is fast catching up with him. “Age is not on my side. My focus is on fitness and recovery. I only have a few years left in me.
I have to enjoy the game — that’s more important. The conditions have been tough (in Chennai). I want to play the Challengers and qualify for the ATP tournaments and Grand Slams,” said Crivoi, who admires Lleyton Hewitt “for we have the same kind of game” and idolises Pete Sampras.