India No.9 in doubles Arjun Kadhe backed up his very successful start to the year with yet another title at the ITF Delhi Men’s 15k held at the R.K Khanna Tennis Stadium in New Delhi from 29th March to 4th April, 2021.
We spoke with Arjun about his incredible run, playing in the pandemic and future plans.
Q) You’ve played in quite a few tournaments in the past couple of months in Spain, Egypt. How does it feel to be back home and competing here?
AK – It’s a really big privilege- we, the Indian players want to play at home, where we get the home-crowd advantage; the heat, the surroundings play in our favour so really happy to have gotten to play tournaments in India these past couple of weeks and looking forward to a few more.
Q) If you could talk us through your doubles game it looks so confident with 2 titles already this year.
I’ve been lucky with good partners this year and hoping to continue this run.
Q) You had a pretty illustrious doubles career at the Oklahoma State University. So do you have any specific plans to prioritize doubles over singles as of now?
Right now I’m trying to play both, trying to mix up since it’s pretty difficult to plan considering the covid situation and the number of tournaments you get to play and there’s the traveling as well. It’s not like before where one could plan say 3 weeks in advance and fly to a tournament- it tends to be very last minute at the moment. I’m just very happy tournaments are in India and even if it’s a 15k I’ll play both singles and doubles. Will now look towards playing a few Challengers in doubles and probably again play a few futures for singles.
Q) What are the next set of tournaments for you from here on and are there any specific goals you’re aspiring for?
I would really love to be close to top 100 in doubles as soon as possible. I know I can get there, need to find my rhythm in doubles so I can get there quickly and give my best shot towards getting into Grand Slams.
Q) Will we get to see this very promising partnership with Saketh in the future?
I always enjoy playing with him, we’re good buddies off the court as well we have fun so yeah definitely more of this partnership in the future.
Q) Your thoughts on how the entire concept of “points not dropping” due to the pandemic has affected lower ranked players. It’s become tougher to move up the rankings
Considering the number of tournaments there’s a grey line between what certain players might think about this because for some players there hasn’t been much access to play many tournaments say for Asians, but if you talk about the Europeans, they’re playing a lot of tournaments already. So it just depends on with what perspective you’re looking at it. For me it doesn’t really matter; I’m going to play the tournaments I can and at the end of the day the points are going to get neutralised. I’m just going to focus on improving so when the dust settles and more tournaments come up I can work on planning for the tour and improving my game.
Q) How do you think you’ve evolved as a tennis player after having spent a good amount of time playing the sport? Has it become easier to handle pressure situations and tough matches?
I think I’ve learnt with experience and battling out tough situations. Till date it still gets tough sometimes but now I know how I react to certain things. I know I’m mentally strong and won’t give up so these are the things you would want to bank on. Obviously you prepare for the worst and hope for the best. That’s my motto going into a match.
You also got to feel lucky to be playing in these times, where so many players aren’t getting a chance to play tournaments. You have to keep this in mind and it helps to play harder.