Indo-British duo Arjun Kadhe and Jay Clarke won the doubles semi-final against Czech pair Petr Nouza and Andrew Paulson 7-5, 4-6, 10-8 to progress to the finals of the Chennai Open ATP Challenger 2023 tournament. They will be facing Sebastian Ofner and Nino Serdarušić, who defeated the top-seed at the tournament Sriram Balaji and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, for a shot at the title. In an exclusive with Indian Tennis Daily, the two players spoke about their journey to the finals.
Post-match interview with Arjun Kadhe
Q) Can you talk about the match and how it feels to be in the finals?
Arjun Kadhe: “I think the match was really close. I think they were serving really well. We knew we had a lot of chances to create when we started the point, but it was really tough to start the point because they were serving pretty big. But I think Jay and I fought our way and we knew it was going to be close at the end. We’re really happy we pulled it off. It was a matter of a few points here and there.”
Q) Your last match ended in a tiebreak as well. How does it feel to be playing back-to-back tiebreaks in such hot & humid conditions?
Arjun Kadhe: “Yeah, I mean, especially for him because he’s been playing singles also every day and I’m really happy that he’s pushing. I’m really happy that he’s giving 100% in doubles as well. We’ve played together before and I like playing with him, it’s amazing. Like it’s a good feeling, a positive feeling to share on the court, which is really important for me. We get along really well off the court as well. So, that’s really important.”
Q) What’s your prep going to be leading up to the final?
Arjun Kadhe: “Nothing changes. Good night’s sleep tonight. Probably a good meal. You know, like probably I’ll enjoy some Rasam rice tonight. And yeah, I mean, keep it simple. We know the guys who we will be playing are also very good players and they beat the top seeds today. So, we know we are probably the underdogs going into the final, but hopefully some people come out and support us. Yeah! Anything can happen tomorrow.”
Will you also be going to the upcoming Bangalore & Pune Challengers?
Arjun Kadhe: “Yes, yes.”
Are you looking forward to playing back at home in Pune?
Arjun Kadhe: “Yes, definitely, definitely. I’m looking forward to going to Pune. It’s always great to play in India, regardless. But Pune holds a special place in my heart.”
Post-match interview with Jay Clarke
Q) How has it been playing doubles with Arjun? You are not typically a doubles player…
Jay Clarke: “Yeah, it’s great. We played once before. We also made the semifinals of a tournament in Italy. He’s a really nice guy, he’s one of my best friends on tour and it’s always a pleasure to share the court with him.”
Q) How has your whole experience in the Chennai Open and Chennai been so far?
Jay Clarke: “Yeah, it’s been great. I like the conditions here, few good singles matches obviously, still in the double’s. The food’s nice, people are great, the venue is very nice and yeah I couldn’t be happier.”
Q) You had to play four matches in a little over 24 hours. That must have taken a toll on your body, how do you feel about that?
Jay Clarke: “Yeah, and it was tough. Like I finished late yesterday and then I had to come out first today. You know after a while it does take a toll, especially after the matches that I’ve had to play. I lost six games in the third set against Prajnesh and then four games in the third set in the match against Dimitar Kuzmanov. Then the long double’s matches twice. Yeah, it takes a toll, but I guess I have to start winning in straight sets. I guess that would help, but nah, I’m happy. I’m happy. I’ve played good tennis so far this week and hopefully we can win the double’s.”
Q) There are two more Challenger tournaments that are going to happen in India, will you be going to those as well? Singles and Doubles?
Jay Clarke: “Yeah, yeah, I’ll play there. Not doubles though, just singles. I don’t play too many doubles matches. I do love playing it. I’ll play and I’ll always give 100% when I do. But yeah, I’m a singles player. For example, this week I think I spent over 4 hours on court, on the doubles court. You know if i had that time to rest, maybe the singles match could have gone differently. I’m not saying I would have won, but it may have been a bit different. But yeah, I do enjoy playing doubles. Especially with a good guy like Arjun.”
Photos by Srividya Balayogi