What’s the story?
Ace Indian tennis player Divij Sharan, who has played previously in Tokyo, says being familiar with conditions is an added advantage for him in the Tokyo Olympics. Sharan is also positive of playing aside Rohan Bopanna, with whom he had a great start to 2019 when they won the Tata Open Maharashtra doubles title on home soil.
In case you did not know
The venue for this year’s Olympic tennis matches is Ariake Tennis Park, a locale that is familiar to both Sharan and Bopanna. The duo had played the quarterfinals of the 2019 Japan Open with their individual partners at this very tennis court. Even though they got defeated, they came home with some valuable experience.
The heart of the matter
The Divij Sharan-Rohan Bopanna duo are top level doubles players in Indian tennis. While the former is ranked 36th and the latter in 56th in world doubles. There are high expectations from the duo playing and winning a medal, in the doubles category for India at the Tokyo Olympics.
Olympic channel quoted Sharan as saying, “We are competing against the top players week in week out, and it’s not something new. Both Rohan and me had good results against higher-ranked opponents as well”.
“You just need to be prepared for the big stage. I don’t see why we cannot do well at the Olympics.” Sharan pointed out.
The only Olympic medal in tennis for India was clinched by Leander Paes at the Atlanta Games in 1996 in which he won a bronze medal in the men’s single category. Hopes are now on Divij Sharan to secure a second Olympic gold in tennis for India and Sharan is hopeful of doing so.
“Tennis is a sport that every country plays and at the end, only three players or teams stand on the podium. But we have had Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes, Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna who have done well and come closer to winning a medal. So, it’s not unachievable but a matter of a few extra wins that these guys missed out on."
“I see great programs and schemes in other countries where a lot of players are supported and many tournaments are played well,” he said.
He signed off by saying “So, if all those structures come in our country, I am sure we can see players go higher in the ranking and have more chances at the Olympics as well.”
Published 19 Feb 2020, 17:51 IST