Zelenay and Sharan: “We are happy to win a title here in St. Petersburg!”
What does this victory in doubles at St. Petersburg Open 2019 mean for you? And when did you find out that Matteo Berrettini is the defending champion in doubles? Did it change your strategy and the preparation process?
Igor Zelenay: Well, for me it is a great feeling, because it is my first ATP title. So I was waiting too long for that. But I am really happy. It is my second final in St. Petersburg and I finally made it. I knew Matteo Berrettini was a defending champion, but it didn’t matter. We said to each other as a team, that we must fight. We’ve been playing great for a whole week. We started winning matches. That was the key, that we didn’t think about defending champion thing. We just tried to play our game.
Igor, we know that you used to play in doubles with St.Petersburg’s tennis player Mikhail Elgin. What can you tell us about that?
I.Z.: Yes, I know Mikhail Yelgin, he is an excellent player. We played several challengers together. As I know, Mikhail is now injured, I can only wish him good health. In any case, say hello to him, I hope that he will return to the tour healthy again.
You are the first Indian player to win the ATP St. Petersburg Open. Did you have some advice from Indian Players who used to go to St. Petersburg? Did they advise you to come here and of course to win it? Because nobody did it before you.
Divij Sharan: I’ve played here before. I like this tournament; they take good care of the players. It was an obvious choice for me to come back here. It’s great to win a title here, I didn’t realize I’m the first Indian who did it, because we have many players who are very good in doubles. It’s a privilege for me to be the first Indian to win this title here.
– Congrats on your win, that was a very fun match, tough one. But now you have a chance to have a rest. Are you planning to visit some sightseeing places in St. Petersburg? ًWhat is the plan for having fun after winning the title?
D.S.: I just need a lift to the airport because I have a flight in few hours.
I.Z.: I would love to visit the city also, it is the very nice city, but also, I have no time, because I have a flight to China, I’m going next to Chengdu Open. So I need to get there as soon as possible.
D.S.: We’ve already had a chance to look around on Monday. We really enjoyed that, we went to museum. But then we didn’t have so much time. Maybe we can do it next year.
Do you plan to play in another Russian tournament – the Kremlin Cup, which is held in October?
I.Z.: I would love to go to that tournament, but I need to get a Russian visa, because they didn’t get me two entries. So I need to make arrangements about my Russian visa and then I really would like to go there as well.
D. S.: Yes, I’ve been there myself few times. I’m not sure, who I want to play with during that week, but if I get a chance, I definitely want to come back in Moscow.
Question to Sharan: on the tour there are a lot of Indian tennis players who play very well in doubles and who are very successful. How can you explain this success? And why there are no such achievements in singles?
D. S.: Well, tennis is a very tough global sport. All the countries are playing tennis, so it’s very competitive. I think we have more tennis players who are better in doubles, because in India we have fast courts. From the beginning we are tough with volleys, so I think all of us have good volley, good net game. I guess once you have people in your country doing well, it gives you believe that you can do well as well. We have pairs, who manage to do really well in doubles: Leander Paes was # 1 in doubles, Rohan Bopanna now is doing very well. So we started to have even more players, who come up. We have five or six players in Top 100 in doubles. I think the government is taking initiatives now, putting a lot of findings into sports. I’m sure that in the near future we will have champions in singles as well.