Indian Teen Sunish Records First Challenger Win
Promising junior competed this week in Pune
Indian players take up 18 of the 32 main draw spots at this week’s ATP Challenger Tour event in Pune. Many are veterans, but the youngest player competing drew plenty of headlines locally for his milestone win.
Sixteen-year-old Dhruv Sunish made the most of his wild card with an opening-round victory over fellow Indian Siddharth Vishwakarma, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. The win gave Sunish, competing in only the fourth pro event of his career, his first ATP Challenger Tour win.
The teenager showed plenty of fighting spirit in his second-round loss on Wednesday to top seed Evgeny Donskoy of Russia. Despite the defeat, Sunish said he was grateful to see how he stacked up against an experienced player.
“Playing against Donskoy was an experience that’s unmatched for me. The level of tennis is completely different,” said Sunish. “It’s been a great experience for me this week to play and practise alongside some of the best players in my country and the world.”
Sunish has primarily focused on playing junior events in India this year. But after watching staple Challenger players train and compete this week, he’s gained a clearer understanding of what he will need to improve on moving forward.
“I think the main difference between junior and pro players is physical strength,” said Sunish. “They also have a much higher mental strength because every match has to be played at such a high intensity.”
With the Emirates ATP Rankings points gained from winning a round in Pune, Sunish will now look to focus on playing more pro events and build on the momentum from this week. But at just 16 years old, he is hopeful he’ll return to Pune for many years to come.
“This is one of the best organised tournaments I’ve ever played,” he said. “I would love to come back and play here again.”