"There is a lot more scope for sports in India", says Indian tennis player Divij Sharan
Divij Sharan is an Indian Tennis player who is currently ranked in the 36th position in the ATP Doubles Rankings. He played the quarterfinals of the Men's Doubles in Wimbledon along with Artem Sitak.
In an exclusive interview with Sportskeeda, Sharan talks about his feat in Wimbledon and the Australian Open along with his future plans.
1. What prompted you to choose tennis as your career?
Sharan: A tennis academy was opened at my school when I was 7. That’s when I picked up a tennis racquet for the first time. A few years down the line I played my first tennis tournament where I won four rounds. After that, my coach put me in a core group where the kids got more attention. I played for Delhi when I was 12. Then I played for India at the junior Davis Cup when I was 14. At the age of 18 I played all the junior grand-slams. I’d always wanted to win Wimbledon and represent India all over the world but that was when I actually decided to take up tennis as a career.
2. You made it to the third round in the 2018 Australian Open. How would you like to see this performance of yours?
Sharan: It was obviously very encouraging to make it to the last 16 of the Aussie Open. Rajeev and I won two good matches against tough teams and lost to the world number one team in a close three-set match. That definitely set the tone for the rest of the year.
3. Which particular match/tournament would you call as the turning point of your career?
Sharan: I’ve had progressive results over the last few years. Playing quarterfinals at Wimbledon has been my best result so far. The result helped me achieve my career best ranking of 36. This would definitely help me play the bigger tournaments and give me more opportunities to get even bigger results.
4. You've been associated with Indian tennis for a long time now. What changes have you observed in the tennis atmosphere over the recent years?
Sharan: Earlier even if you were doing well in sports, it wasn’t a viable means of living. Parents were not that supportive of their kids taking up sports as a profession.
The trend is changing now. There is a lot more scope for sports in India. There is massive awareness and following for not just cricket but a lot of the other sports as well. There are leagues in almost every sport in the country. Our government is also keen to get as much recognition on the international stage. They are putting in a lot of funds to support our athletes. There is also a lot of emphasis and awareness on fitness to lead a healthy life.
So I feel these are good times for someone who aspires to take up any sport as a profession.
5. We have reached halfway through this tennis season. What are your plans for the rest of the reason?
Sharan: I’m playing a couple of tournaments in the US after which I will play the Asian Games in Indonesia.
6. Who has been your idol? What role has he/she played in your life?
Sharan: I don’t think I have an idol, but Pete Sampras and Roger Federer have been my two favourite players over the years.
7. There are various young tennis players who wish to represent their country. What piece of advice would you like to give to them?
Sharan: When you are a junior, it feels like the junior rankings and results are everything. I have been through the same feeling. The emphasis should be on working on your game and physical fitness as the junior years are the most important for building a solid foundation for the professional circuit.
It’s obviously a long journey to the top, so it’s important that you enjoy it.