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SD Prajwal Dev: I am giving equal importance to doubles this year

Published at :April 12, 2023 at 12:20 AM
Modified at :December 13, 2023 at 1:01 PM
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(Courtesy : Sportstar - The Hindu)

Sathvik Bharadwaj


The Mysuru lad also pointed out why players from India struggle to perform in singles.

SD Prajwal Dev, 26, has had a steady start to both his singles and doubles tennis career. Currently ranked 766 in singles and 603 in doubles, he recently upset higher-ranked Mukund Sasikumar with a comeback win 1-6 7-5 7-4 to make the semi-finals of the ITF Mysuru Open but lost out to Brit George Laoffhagen in the final four.

Currently the number one Karnataka player, SD Prajwal Dev was handed a wildcard for the ATP Challenger Bengaluru Open. He spoke to Khel Now in an exclusive interview on his current form, doubles ambitions, and the win against Mukund.

2023 Season so far

Prajwal’s highlight of the season so far has been the singles semi-final run in the M15 Kish Island on clay and a doubles win in Egypt with Sai Karthik Reddy. He recounted the season so far, "I am very happy with how I have started the season. I have built up momentum, making the semi-finals in Iran and the M25 in Mysore. I hope that I can continue this, improve my rankings and start playing the challenger circuit.”

More ITF tournaments

SD Prajwal Dev backs the opinion of having and playing in more ITF tournaments in India as a base for players to climb up the rankings ladder, “It is important to have ITF tournaments in India because it is a great opportunity for the players to make points and climb up the rankings.

"Having four tournaments in a row is a great opportunity since we are aware of the conditions here in India and that helps us play better tennis. I hope the All India Tennis Association and local associations, especially KSLTA continue to host ITF tournaments in India and in Karnataka in the years ahead.”

Match against Mukund Sasikumar

SD Prajwal Dev upset the higher-seeded Mukund Sasikumar in a three-hour slugfest. He showed immense mental resolve and confidence to come back from a set and break down. He said, “The match against Mukund was a really good match. We played for around three hours and learnt a lot. I lost the first set and was down a break in the second set as well and happy that I could win the second set 7-5 and went on to win.

"When I am playing guys higher ranked than me it is a challenge. You have to play your best tennis to beat them. I am happy to have done that in Mysore and I hope to take this momentum forward and play well in the upcoming tournaments. Happy to beat someone who was in India’s Davis Cup side.”

Greater focus on doubles

SD Prajwal Dev has gained 33 places up the doubles rankings and has worked on his overall doubles game and bettering his all-round skills. He spoke on his changing focus and the growth of doubles in India, “Starting from this year, I have been focussing on doubles as well. I am giving equal importance to doubles and working on my net game and the other aspects of my doubles play as well. I won two titles already this season and hope to continue that rise up the rankings.

Doubles have been growing rapidly in India. Ten players in the top 200 ATP rankings is a good return. Prajwal added, "Singles is a difficult path and you need to have a good team around you to have success in the singles circuit. To have a good team, you must have good financial support and I think very few Indian players have that.

"It is one of the reasons why you are seeing very few Indians ranked high in the country. That can change if associations can help find players to have a good team around them and a lot of tournaments in India where the players can minimize their travel expenditure by travelling to far away countries. That will help players play better. If the tournaments are in their own country, it is a win-win for both hosts (India) and the players.”

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