On Sunday, Digvijay Pratap Singh won his first ITF Title at the RK Khanna Tennis Stadium, New Delhi. The third seed at the M15 New Delhi Future showed some great form and mental strength specially in the semis against Niki Poonacha in which he was down a set and a break. In the finals he won the first set before which his French opponent Florent Bax decided to forfeit.
We spoke to Digvijay after the finals and discussed about his first title, season so far, goals for the next season and much more.
Q) Your first ITF title, how are you feeling and what are your thoughts on the finals ?
DS: Feels great just a bit disappointed that the other guy has to retire so it was unfortunate. But I was playing really well so I am happy with my performance. He started really strong but I raised my level after 2 games, switched my game mode to more aggressive and went for my chances and it worked for me.
Q) Do you think this performance will act as a boost for the upcoming futures also ?
DS: I am really hoping for it, I mean it’s a very good start so thinks it’s good for me. So let’s see how I do in the next coming weeks.
Q) We are into the last few weeks of the year. You had a good season with a finals in Vietnam and couple of semi finals an QF finishes. How do you view this season ?
DS: It’s been good season so far, but it definitely could have been better because the other two semifinals I lost in Sri Lanka. I had very good opportunities lost both of them in the third set and they were pretty disappointing matches for my side. And then again, in Madrid, I played a 25 lost quarters. That was a bad match. So I mean, if I could have converted my chances, it definitely could have been better, but looks good for now and still there are couple of more tournaments.
Q) You were on the verge to skip Vietnam ITF but decided against it and played the finals. We would like to know the story behind it.
DS: So the thing was like, I was playing in Algeria came to Delhi for a night and then flew to Vietnam. These two days, it was crazy humid and disastrous to play tennis. So when I got there, I couldn’t adapt. First week I went on the court, lost the first set, six four. And then I was so exhausted, so drained out. I was like, I need to get out of the court. I can’t handle this here and I was not the one everybody was feeling like that, so after losing, I rested for a day, next day before training I was still struggling. And then my roommate Ishaque Eqbal at that time, and another guy Tushar I was telling do you guys want to Go back? Because I don’t feel. I mean, to play here to win one match doesn’t make any sense because it doesn’t look like we will be doing good. So we were almost booking the tickets and then suddenly I was like no, I am not gonna just do it. Next day I had a bad session, and then again I was thinking so till the day I got my first round i wanted to go back. But suddenly the things clicked. It made me realize you need to hang in there when you never expect anything.
Q) A loss in the finals again at the Fenesta Nationals. How much does it hurt considering you have mentioned previously that last time you lost the Fenesta finals it was very disappointing ?
DS: The first final was a nightmare cause I had 3 match points against Niki and on the 3rd I served, moved to the net and the ball was almost going out but it landed in. It hurt a lot, i still get nightmares about that match. This time it was a disaster and I can’t complain about that. Manish was in form, but I think I played a pretty bad match like overall. There was nothing, he didn’t had to do anything special because I was giving all the free points so it was a very disappointing match.
Q) AITA has announced organizing 21 Pro tournaments till March including 8 mens ITF and 4 Challengers. How much does this help the players to get home tournaments with respect to rankings ?
DS: According to me it’s a huge thing because you know Challengers 4 weeks in a row coming to India, it’s happening after a very long time. I played one challenger this year in Bangalore, it makes a huge difference because the points difference is huge. Like one match in Challenger is like 7-10 points, so it’s like winning the futures. And not only for me it’s gonna be a huge opportunity for all the good players who will be performing there.
Q) You are training at NTC right now under Zeeshan Ali alongside Nitin, Aman, Karan etc. Since you guys practice with each other and there comes a possibility to face your practice partner next day in a match. Do you keep any secret weapons like shots/techniques for the match and not show them in practice ?
DS: Actually No, because we guys are really close to each other Karan and Aman specially we guys are really close. And I played Karan in Sri Lanka and it was like completely fine. I mean yes it was a bit awkward but still we enjoy each others company and we respect each others even during the match and we have fun. Nobody trains and tries to hide his things like variations and everything is upfront.
Q) What part of your game you are feeling confident about and what do you think can be improved ?
DS: I am confident about me being aggressive or even defensive at the time on the court. My serve I feel has been improved a bit more and physically I am feeling very good. I had very good pre-season last year so it is carrying me good. And the part I need to work on is my net game so that is the main thing, I need to start doing that transitioning to the net more often cause that’s what I am lacking.
Q) You might be finishing the season on a career high ranking. What are your goals for the next season?
DS: So I’ll be about 570 something after this tournament, so I am hoping for much better than this. The goal is to have a very good pre-season for 4-5 weeks an start the challengers. Because with 500 I think you can get anywhere in the qualifyings of most of the challengers. So my target will be like to go and play some Challengers, and specially Indian challengers I’ll be playing for sure.