Thursday, June 28, 2018

Mallineni Sriram Balaji Qualify for Main Draw of Wimbledon

Indian pair of Mallineni Sriram Balaji Vishnu Vardhan and succeeded in their effort and qualified for the main draw in the Wimbledon qualifiers.

This will be a Grand Slam debut for Balaji, who hails from Coimbatore. He and his partner and fellow Indian Vishnu Vardhan booked their berth in the men's doubles draw following a 6-3, 6-4 win over top seeds Denys Molchanov and Igor Zelenay in the second round.

It will be a maiden Grand Slam main draw appearance for Vardhan and Balaji. "The tournament has just started for us," an elated Balaji told TOI from London on Wednesday. "I have been partnering with Vishnu on and off for almost 3-4 years now. But it has only been around 10 months since I have shifted my focus to playing only doubles and it has reaped rewards for me."

This is the first year Balaji is playing on grass and the 28-year old is already feeling at home. "Vishnu and my game is perfect for grass and though this is the first time I'm playing on grass, I'm feeling good about it. I play more serve and volley and that is more suited to grass. We played some Challengers before the Wimbledon to get into the rhythm and that paid off."

Balaji is happy that even though the road to Wimbledon hasn't been smooth for him, the hard work has finally paid off for the duo. "The season hasn't been easy for us. It had lots of ups and downs but we were patient and waited for our chance. When we won the Challenger in Uzbekistan in May last year, we knew we had the rankings to play in the qualifiers here. But we don't want to put any pressure on ourselves in Wimbledon," Balaji added.

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