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Putting behind mental woes,Vijayant eyes more title triumphs

Last year,Vijayant managed to win his first singles ITF futures title in Vietnam.

Written by Tashi Lundup | Chandigarh | Published: October 29, 2013 3:21:03 am

Till about a month ago,Vijayant Malik was a worried man. As the year-end approached,the tennis player was afraid the title drought would continue as despite getting good starts and playing well on the circuit,he had not been able to win any title. The repetitive stress injury to the knee was still troubling him and on top of that,his singles rankings dropped almost 100 places from 417 to 504. The wait for the elusive title was just growing longer and longer.

Then,in the second week of October,the wait was finally over as Vijayant won the doubles title in $15,000 ITF men’s futures tennis tournament at Jake Hess Tennis Stadium in Houston,USA. The former CLTA trainee paired with another Chandigarh player,Sanam Singh,to beat fourth seed pair of Evan King (USA) and Costin Paval (Romania) in the final. While it was Sanam’s third title of the year,Vijayant was delighted to end the title drought with that victory.

“It was really good to win the title. Singles or doubles,any title is good. Playing with Sanam was a great experience because we haven’t played together before. We got along well and we had some good wins under our belt. We both are happy with the result,” Vijayant told Sportline.

This was Vijayant’s third ITF title,the first of which came three years ago in Thailand when he paired with Sriram Balaji to win the doubles title. Last year,Vijayant managed to win his first singles ITF futures title in Vietnam. It is a mere coincidence that all the three titles have come at foreign shores.

Now that he has got rid of the mental block which had been hampering the progress of his game,Vijayant is ready to give shot at more titles.

This year,however,had not started like this. He made an impressive start to the year when he reached the final of the ITF men’s futures in Chandigarh. He took off from there and made two more final appearance in the futures tournament in Chennai and Coimbatore in the months of May and June,respectively. However,at this time the knee injury was starting to trouble him and as time progressed,the injury aggravated and forced him out to concede some important matches.

The injury not only hampered his progress but also spoilt his itinerary as Vijayant had planned to train in Germany. He,however,ended up in USA where he has been playing tournaments for the last four months. “I was supposed to go and play some tournaments in Germany but I got injured while playing the finals in India. I cancelled my plan to go to Germany and instead decided to go to USA. I have been here for the last four months and I have been travelling and playing some tournaments,” shared the 23-year-old.

He got off to a good start in the United States,reaching the last four stage of the futures tournament in Decatur in July. He followed it up with another semi-final appearance in the futures tournament in Toronto,Canada in September,where he gave a walkover to top seed Peter Polansky of Canada who in turn defeated second seed Sanam Singh in the final to win the title.

Looking back at the year,Vijayant has several good memories to carry into the new year. Apart from winning the doubles futures title and three futures final appearances,Vijayant will perhaps remember making debut for the Indian Davis Cup team the most. It was in February when due to the difference between the Indian players and All India Tennis Association,the latter decided to pick up a second string Davis team against the mighty South Korea and Vijayant made his much-awaited debut. He followed it up with another Davis Cup appearance against Indonesia but had to battle fatigue and injury throughout.

“This year was really memorable for me because for the first time I got the opportunity to play for the country first in Davis Cup as a playing member. I know I have retired in few important matches due to injury but I am feeling much better now. I have been working on my rehab and the progress has been steady. I might play in India and Asia in the coming times,” signed off the player,who trains at Siri Fort in New Delhi.

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