Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan’s dream of playing Wimbledon became a reality last night when his participation in the main draw was confirmed, thanks to a late swoop in by Jared Donaldson to replace Jeevan’s injured doubles partner, Hyeon Chung.
Jeevan had already qualified for the doubles event but an ankle injury to Chung had left Jeevan helpless and had almost jeopardised his chances of playing the main event. Donaldson’s timely entry and a combined doubles ranking of 160(the cutoff is 160) ensured that the pair just sneaked their way through.
“Our participation in the tournament was confirmed on Monday after Donaldson expressed an interest in partnering me. His ranking is 65 and mine is 95. So we just made the cut-off mark,” Jeevan told Times of India.
“It’s a special feeling to play at Wimbledon. It’s a dream come true. I’m thrilled to have got such a massive opportunity. I was definitely dejected after Hyeon’s injury. But I was glad that he informed me well in advance so that I could look for another partner,” he added.
Jeevan’s immediate plan of action is to strike an understanding with Donaldson before the event, as the entire doubles game is based on how well you understand your partner.
“I have already spoken to Donaldson. It’s important that we get talking regularly to gel together as a unit. He is playing singles at Eastbourne. Once the tournament finishes, we will work overtime and train together so that we give ourselves the best chance of success at Wimbledon.” Jeevan said
“Donaldson is one of the upcoming talents from the US and has a fantastic future. I don’t think I will have to make too many adjustments as he has a lot of weapons in his armoury,” he further added.
Jeevan didn’t hold back in showering praise for Rohan Bopanna, who had mentored him all through and was a source of inspiration for the 28-year-old.
“Bopanna has been a huge influence. In fact, he suggested Donaldson as one of the options. He is one of the few seniors who is willing to be a mentor in the Indian circuit. As far as winning the Chennai Open, it was definitely a huge boost both morally and ranking-wise.” Jeevan concluded.