First reactions: Balaji and Jeevan on reaching the doubles final of Tata Maharashtra Open 2023

Indian tennis players Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan and N Sriram Balaji talking to ITD Core Member Abhijeet Dangat

Team Indian Tennis Daily (ITD) was in the stands as we saw our countrymen — the doubles pair of N Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan made it to the doubles final of Tata Open Maharashtra 2023 — the biggest ATP event in the whole of South Asia. 

We caught up with them briefly after their 6–4, 7–5 semifinal win over British team Julian Cash and Henry Patten. Here’s what we spoke about –

On reaching the final

Jeevan: Yeah, it feels great obviously. It’s been a fantastic tournament. We are so happy to play at home. A big thank you to my partner Bala — a fantastic week of professionalism for us. We hung in there. We kept doing the right stuff even before we were in the draw. Our teamwork helped us the entire week — I think we are just bearing the fruits of lots of months of hard work.

How and when did they know they’d got in as alternates 

Balaji: We were here on Saturday and we practised over the weekend. On Monday we knew we were not getting in. There were a lot of singles matches that day. There were three singles teams so we were hoping one of them pulls out (laughs). 

Jeevan: I think it was the night before our first match.

Balaji: Actually, one of your colleagues Vatsal (Tolasaria) — was the first one to tell us that we’ve got in as alternates. So thanks!

In preparation for the final 

Balaji: We are just going to stick to our basics. We will do our homework on our opponents and then just try to execute our plan. That’s it (smiles).

This interaction took place in person on Friday, 6 January 2023. 

You can support both the players in stadia at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune or from home via live streaming on JioCinema.

Follow ITD on Instagram here and help us promote Indian tennis.

Abhijeet Dangat is a lawyer and writer who loves playing, watching and discussing tennis. He has lived in India, France and the United Kingdom and has travelled across the world, many times witnessing sports history being made.

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