Wimbledon 2017: Strong Indian presence in men’s doubles draw

Five Indian men - Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna, Divij Sharan, Purav Raja and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan are competing in the men's doubles draw. Only Bopanna is seeded while Jeevan is making his Wimbledon debut after almost being forced to pull out.

By: Express Web Desk | Published: July 2, 2017 6:57:57 pm
wimbledon 2017, indians wimbledon, indian tennis, leander paes Leander Paes and Adil Shamadsin have won Challenger titles this year in Lyon and Ilkley. (Source: Twitter)

Wimbledon has been a happy hunting ground for Indian players over the years with the Grand Slam getting plenty of attention in the country among fans and players alike. It began with Ghaus Mohammad becoming the first Indian to reach the quarterfinals at Wimbledon in 1939 and then going on to lose to American champion Bobby Riggs. Ramanathan Krishnan earned fourth seed in 1962 before Vijay Amritraj reached the quarters twice (1973 and 1974) before Ramesh Krishnan repeated the quarterfinal exploits.

However, in the last two decades, India’s focus and success has been in the doubles department. Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi won in 1999, a year prior Bhupathi won in mixed doubles alongside Mirjana Lucic. Former Doubles World No 1 Sania Mirza won the women’s doubles title partnering Martina Hingis in 2015.

Looking at draw, India have strong presence in the men’s doubles draw. Paes is partnering Canada’s 35-year-old Adil Shamasdin and has eighth seeds Rohan Bopanna and Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin for company in the top half.

In the lower half of the draw, Purav Raja and Divij Sharan would look to keep their aggressive style of play going on grass. Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan makes his debut at Wimbledon and in, rather, dramatic style. His dream of playing at the Championships almost went away when his partner Hyeon Chung pulled out with ankle injury. With less than 24 hours left to find a partner, lady luck struck on him with Jared Donaldson deciding to play with him. Even more interestingly, their ranking came to a combined 160 – with the cutoff for the main draw being 160 exactly.

Paes/Shamasdin face Julian Knowle/Philipp Oswald in the opening round, Bopanna/Roger-Vasselin face an interesting opener in Dustin Brown and Mischa Zverev with both Germans good at the net. Raja/Sharan play Kyle Edmund/Joao Sousa while Jeevan/Donaldson take on local pairing of Jay Clarke and Marcus Willis.

In the women’s doubles draw, Mirza partners Kirsten Flipkens and the 13th seeds face Naomi Osaka and Shuai Zheng in the opening round while being placed in the bottom half of the draw.

The draw for juniors will be made available on July 6 with the matches starting next week.

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