New Delhi, October 2: Missing out on Davis Cup despite impressive results this season may have caused some heartache to Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan but he has now trained his eyes on playing consistently at the Grand Slams by taking his ranking to top-60 by the year-end.
This year Jeevan has enjoyed one of the most successful seasons of his career. Last week at the Chengdu Open he reached only the second ATP 250 level final with American partner Austin Krajicek. Before that he made seven finals on the Challenger circuit, winning three titles -- Winnetka, Ilkley, Dallas. He ended runner-up at Nottingham, Savannah, Tallahassee, Lille.
Despite these results and being placed higher than his compatriot, he was not selected in the Davis Cup team for the Serbia tie, which India lost 0-4. Captain Mahesh Bhupathi had chosen N Sriram Balaji, ranked outside 100, while Jeevan was 88th at the time, saying the former had the ability to play both singles and doubles.
Jeevan left behind the snub and went to reach Chengdu Open final, where he and his partner lost Ivan Dodig and Mate Pavic. En route the final, Jeevan and Krajicek beat Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak, one of the formidable teams now on circuit.
Tennis | Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan/ Austin Krajicek finish runners-up in Chengdu Open (ATP World Tour 250) as they go down to top seeds Mate Pavic/ Ivan Dodig 2-6, 4-6 in Final #ChengduOpen pic.twitter.com/giDQFvmqMX— India_AllSports (@India_AllSports) September 30, 2018
Was he all fired up before the tournament? "I was fired up because I enjoy playing with Austin and I believe we are capable of a lot together. My goal is to play the Grand Slams and do well there. Davis Cup is not in my hands. There are selectors who have a job to do and pick the best possible team for India to win," Jeevan told PTI.
"I'm sure they are smart people who are paying a keen eye to how all the Indians are performing week in and week out. I don't want to get involved in those processes. Would rather wear the blinders and run my race."
Jeevan, who is now ranked 80 in doubles, said he wants to improve his ranking further to play at the big stage next year. "I have a goal of finishing in the 60s. This would get me into the Grand Slams next year. And I move up closer to his ranking we would be able to play more tournaments together," he said, referring to Krajicek, who is ranked 53rd.
Talking about the Chengdu Open, Jeevan said, "It was a good week for us especially with our best match coming in the semifinals. (Joao) Sousa was playing incredibly well in Chengdu and we took a team effort to get the win."
Talking about the final, Jeevan said, "Pavic was really strong off the blocks and we had our chances in the second like any doubles match. 0 40 on Dodig at 1-2 was the biggest opportunity. But they were the better team on the day and hopefully we get to play against them more often on the bigger stages."
Jeevan will play with El Salvador's Marcelo Arevalo for the next two weeks, starting with the 150K Challenger in Monterrey, since Krajicek has a family wedding to attend. In the last few months, Jeevan has proved his mettle by beating many prominent doubles players from the country, including Leander Paes, Divij Sharan, Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan.