India’s rising tennis star Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan is all set to make his maiden Grand Slam appearance in the men’s doubles category at the upcoming Wimbledon, thanks to his new partner Jared Donaldson stepping up at the last moment to partner with him.
The 28-year-old from Chennai had qualified for the Grand Slam, coming through the qualifiers alongside his doubles partner South Korea’s Hyeon Chung. However, on Sunday, Chung told Jeevan that he would have to pull out of the Grand Slam due to an ankle injury.
“It was tough mentally to hear the news from Hyeon but I am glad he told me before the deadline and gave me an opportunity to find someone else to beat the main draw cut,” said Jeevan to PTI. “After speaking to the tournament referees and tour managers they informed me I had until the first point of qualifying which begins today to re-pair.”
However, the 28-year-old Chennai player found it difficult to find a partner who fell inside the cut-off mark for direct entry with their combined ranking.
“All the wild cards had been given, I couldn’t play qualifying as I entered the main draw in Eastbourne and it looked pretty bleak, the chances to find another player in the top 65,” added Jeevan.
Thankfully though, 20-year-old Jared Donaldson stepped up at the last moment and agreed to be Jeevan’s partner. With a combined ranking of 160th (Jeevan is ranked 95th and Donaldson 65th), they managed to grab the last available spot in the main doubles draw, where the cut-off mark was exactly 160.