The Indo-Kiwi pair of Divij Sharan and Artem Sitak got off to a great start, beating Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta & Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-4 7-5. The pair were a break down in the 2nd set, before coming back to clinch it, late in the set. Sharan-Sitak’s had earlier made the QFs at Wimbledon 2018.

ITD member Piyush Bajaj caught up with Divij after the match to get his thoughts. Excerpts below –

Piyush works as a business analyst at Dialog Information Technology in Melbourne, Australia. He’s worked with Infosys for 7 years and is an MBA graduate from Manipal University

Sharan & Sitak (Credits – Balaram Dhulipala)

Q) Congratulations on your win today. What did you make of the match?

It was great. We had a few comebacks in the previous week as well playing in Auckland, where we played against the top seeds. I think that’s one of the strengths we have. Even when we played at The Wimbledon in 2018, there were a couple of times we came back from 2 sets to nil down.

I think both of us are mentally very focused. It doesn’t matter what the situation is, we keep fighting it out. So yeah, it was good. We stuck to our game plans. We were able to make that comeback. We were able to see our opponents a bit frustrated as well. Obviously, as a team, you realize that and you want to capitalize on that.

Artem and Divij were all smiles after the match (Credits – Balaram Dhulipala)

Q)  It’s been a tough start in 2020 for you with the Pune points dropping off.

That’s part and parcel of the game. Obviously, you lose some points & you win some. But I think it’s really important to keep working on your game, keep working on getting better and the results will follow. So, if I can focus on that, that would be great.

Divij is looking to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics this year (Credits – Balaram Dhulipala)

Q) You had a good win against the top seeds in Auckland. So how did that feel?

It was pretty good. I think I’ve lost to (Michael)Venus quite a few times. Ten days before the first tournament we hit in Doha and were working on different things. Yeah, I guess it’s all showing. Obviously, there’s still a lot of things to work on but, I guess coming back to your question, the win is always good. It helps boost your confidence.

Divij and Sitak’s box (Credits – Balaram Dhulipala)

Q) You’ve been partnering Sitak for a while. Is it a long term thing?

It’s tricky because obviously I want to play with the same partner as much as possible. As long as things are going well, I think that’s something that is pretty obvious. You win with someone, you want to continue playing with them. If you’re not doing really well, then you look at other options, but we’re doing well so far and the goal is to try to play with each other as much as a possible.

Divij stretching out to hit a backhand (Credits – Balaram Dhulipala)

Q) Are you planning to enter the mixed doubles as well? If so, with whom?

I think the list is probably out. I don’t think I’ve made it. I did go with my wife(British Tennis player – Samantha Murray). I don’t think I’ll enter the mixed doubles anytime soon(laughs).

Sitak-Sharan shake hands with Busta-Sousa(clockwise)

Q) Quite a few Indian supporters in the crowd today. How much does it matter?

Yeah, it’s great to have as much support as possible. Obviously, there were a lot of people who supported us. That helps a lot. It’s more special to play when more people are watching you. So I thank all my supporters.

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