The Indian tennis star spoke to the media about the upcoming competition.
The French Open 2022 will start on Sunday. The second Grand Slam will see some big names competing for the title. Defending champion and top seed Novak Djokovic would also make a return to the Grand Slams in France.
Djokovic missed out on the Australian Open after he was denied entry into the tournament amidst the vaccine controversy. The Serbian would want nothing more than to get back to his winning ways here. However, the “king of clay” Rafael Nadal would be a strong threat to his title. The likes of Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitpitas and Carlos Alcaraz will be also present and would want to mar Novak’s party.
So. ahead of the tournament, Indian tennis player and doubles specialist Purav Raja sat down with the media to share his thoughts about the upcoming event. He also expressed his thoughts on the current scenario of tennis in India.
His pick to win the men’s singles title this year
The question that is on everyone’s mind right now is who is the best bet to win the men’s singles title this year? Purav Raja shared his take on this candidly. “It’s going to be different this year. I mean every player is excited to play in front of the fans and it’s so much more exciting. The GOAT debate (greatest of all-time) is also up for grabs. For me, honestly, Rafa is still the favourite with Novak very close.”
“But, still it’s very clear that Rafa and Novak are the clear favourites to win. Nadal winning so much in Paris and Djokovic is back to his best makes it all the more exciting,” admitted Purav Raja leaning towards the Spaniard to take it all the way.
No Indian player in the top 100
The Indian tennis contingent has been currently going through a rough patch. These past few years have seen no Indian player make it to the top 100 in either men’s or women’s singles category. Though there is no shortage of talent in the subcontinent, the problem has persisted over time. Speaking of which the two-time ATP doubles winner had this to say.
“The point is if you are a top 100 cricketer you are playing for India. Just like if you are a top 100 footballer you are playing for the Premier League and if you are a top 100 basketball player you are playing in the NBA. That is what I am saying that the top 100 is the top 100. If you are not there you are nowhere in the picture. It’s a very very tough field and people should understand how difficult it is,” added the 36-year-old.
On growth of Indian tennis
Indian tennis has come a long way over the years. It has produced multiple gems that have brought glory to the country. Purva Raja said, ”The positives are all of us have played about 15 Grand Slams. All of us that have come out are the miracles of the system. Leander Paes, Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupathi, Somdev Devburman, I are all examples of this miracle.”
“All of them are great players and we think we are going to keep producing them. But the reality is we are not going to keep producing them”, concluded the tennis pundit.