Tennis

‘Very special to be national champion’

Guiding force: Chirag, right, credits coach Gaurav Sharma for playing a part in shaping his career.  

Chirag Duhan is a special talent. The newly-crowned National junior champion had a nice interaction with Olympian Vishnu Vardhan on putting his tennis career in perspective.

The 17-year-old Chirag credited coach Gaurav Sharma with an “equally important role” along with his parents in shaping his tennis career for the last five years.

Chiraj, who has won two ITF junior titles earlier this season and taken his international junior rank to 132, was planning to focus in the men’s international circuit, but had to cool his heels at home.

In trying to make use of the time, he entered the tournaments in Chennai.

“We have been preparing for this for a long time. It is very special for me to be the national champion,” Chirag told Vishnu, who pointed out that the country’s best players Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan had won the event in the past.

When queried, Chirag accepted that Sidharth Rawat, fellow trainee at the Pro Tennis Academy in the Capital, a disciplined and dedicated player was quite helpful “on and off the court” in mentoring him.

A big fan of Tokyo Olympics champion Alexander Zverev of Germany, the tall Chirag said that his focus would be to play the men’s tournaments in Egypt and Tunisia in the coming weeks to take his professional career forward.

Chirag had got a taste of the men’s international circuit in the qualifying events of two tournaments at home this season, before the second wave of COVID-19 put a pause to the proceedings.

He likes badminton and swimming, but with long hours of tennis and fitness training he has no time to think about other games or activities.

Vishnu, a stakeholder in Tennishub which sponsored the national junior championship, congratulated Chirag for his double triumph, and said that it was commendable considering the humid conditions and rain delays in the tournament.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 6:39:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/very-special-to-be-national-champion/article36087691.ece

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