Army personnel Naib Subedar Sriram Balaji has created history by becoming the first player from Indian Army to qualify for the Wimbledon draw.
Sriram Balaji, along with Vishnu Vardhan, defeated top seeds Igor Zelenay and Denys Molchanov 6-3 6-4 in the final qualifying round on Wednesday to achieve this feat. Also in the fray is 29-year-old Chennai born Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, who partnered with Austin Krajicek. The pair defeated the English duo of Edward Corrie and Lloyd Glasspool 7-6 6-3.
Naib Subedar Sriram Balaji has qualified for the Wimbledon Main Draw. First in the history of Services, player to qualify & reach this level. #IndianArmy #Proud #SagaOfTheChampion pic.twitter.com/Jq5zrlXBEA
— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) June 28, 2018
As for Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan, it will be his second appearance in the Wimbledon main draw, the likes of Sriram Balaji and Vishnu Vardhan will be appearing for the first time. “It’s been incredible since last year when both me and Bala decided that we will focus more on the doubles and immediately got some Challenger wins. We were eying to play the Wimbledon qualifying and did everything under our control to prepare,” Vardhan told PTI from London.
Both Balaji and Vardhan have been performing out of their skins since the last 14 months, winning five of the seven finals they managed to reach. And for Vardhan, he believed the change in Balaji’s attitude was one of the many reasons they managed to achieve this feat. “There were a few close matches that we lost in the last three months but in the last one month, I have seen so much change in my partner. He is so calm, relaxed and composed. And that is what you need when you are playing at a stage like this, that made a big difference,” explained Vardhan.
Vardhan, taking to Twitter, expressed his delight and said, “A dream come true to qualify into the main draw of the Wimbledon and will also be making my debut at the grand slam. Thanks a lot to
@KTRTRS and @jayesh_ranjan for the support, and extending my invitation to watch me play next week”
A dream come true to qualify into the main draw of the @Wimbledon and will also be making my debut at the grand slam. Thanks a lot to @KTRTRS and @jayesh_ranjan for the support, and extending my invitation to watch me play next week. pic.twitter.com/mJT4vX1j87
— Vishnu Vardhan (@vishnu_vardhan9) June 28, 2018