Tennis

It will be special week in my tennis journey, says Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan

All set: The Indian team is all smiles as it gets ready to depart for Kazakhstan.

All set: The Indian team is all smiles as it gets ready to depart for Kazakhstan.  

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The Chennai-based tennis player says spending time with Leander Paes is an opportunity to learn

Playing Davis Cup at the age of 30 is not a step forward for Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan but he still feels it will be a “special week” in his tennis journey when he faces Pakistan.

He firmly believes that winning against a weaker opponent would not take anything away from his debut.

The Chennai-based left-hander churned out results consistently in the last two-three years but was not considered for Davis Cup selection due to the presence of higher-ranked players.

An opportunity arose when the top players refused to travel to Pakistan and he raised his hands up. With the matches shifted out of Islamabad, they again said they were ready to play, spoiling Jeevan’s chances.

However, a shoulder injury ruled Rohan Bopanna out and Jeevan is now set to make his debut alongside the legendary Leander Paes.

“We have very good doubles players in our country. We have two guys in top-50. I don’t look at it as holding back. Tennis is a journey. I am 30-years-old, I enjoy playing on Tour, regardless of whether I get to play Davis Cup or not. But it is a special feeling to play for the tri-colour. And it’s not a step forward, it’s part of the journey,” Jeevan told PTI in an interview.

“I am excited to be part of the squad. It’s any player’s dream to represent the country, it’s the highest honour for a player to represent the country.”

The big-serving Saketh Myneni is also in the squad but indications are that it will be Jeevan, who will play alongside Paes in the doubles.

The diminutive southpaw said spending time in the company of Paes is an opportunity to learn.

“I am hoping to take new lessons. On tennis courts he is a very smart player. The way he looks at the game is very different to the players I have played with. Athletically, he is very gifted, he is still one of the best movers. Even at this age, he is still amazing mover.

“I am not a big guy, so I move very athletically, I need to maximise those moves I can make at the net. I can relate to a lot of things, he talks about like how to move when at the net. So, definitely learning a lot from him,” said Jeevan.

Asked how his game complements Paes’ since both are good at the net, Jeevan said their left-right combination would trouble the opponents.

“We both have trust in each other’s ability to put away balls at the net. The key is serving with left-right combination, that’s a big advantage we have.

“I have done well with my right hand partners in the past, I have done well on ad-court too. Bopanna and I won the Chennai Open with me on the ad-court, so that’s a familiar territory for me.”

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 9:58:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/it-will-be-special-week-in-my-tennis-journey-says-jeevan-nedunchezhiyan/article30079542.ece

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