New Delhi: The consistent Divij Sharan broke into the top-50 for a career-high ranking while Sania Mirza dropped out of top-10 for the first time since March 2014 as the latest ATP and WTA charts were issued today.
The left-handed Sharan reached the final of the last three tournaments he participated in, winning the ATP 250 European Open while ending runner-up at Challenger events in Brest and Tashkent with different partners.
He is ranked exactly 50th after gaining a place. The 31-year-old Delhi player did not let his split with long-time partner Purav Raja affect him as he consistently did well on the Tour despite not having a stable partnership.
Now India has two top-50 players in doubles with Rohan Bopanna (15) leading the chart. Purav Raja (62), Leander Paes (70) and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan (97) are the other top-100 Indian players.
"I made my first ATP point in 2003. It's been a long and exciting journey since then. There has been a lot of hard- work, sacrifices, experiences, travel, decisions, ups and downs but most importantly I am grateful for the opportunity to do what I love doing the most which is playing tennis," Sharan told PTI from Bratislava in Slovakia.
Sharan, who has won 19 ITF Futures titles, 13 Challenger trophies and three ATP Tour titles, said now he has the "belief that he can win a Grand Slam". "The guys to whom we are losing close matches are the ones who are winning Slams. We have beaten them too sometimes, so I feel I am up there and can win a Grand Slam," he said.
"I have been employed by Indian Oil since 2004 and their support has been massive through most of my career. Head and Adidas have also been providing my racquets and kit for the last four years," he added.
Sharan said his next goal is to make the top 30 so that he can play the ATP 1000s, the Master series events. "It's good motivation and encouragement," Sharan, who reached pre-quarterfinals of the French Open this year, said. Also making good progress in the doubles is Vishnu Vardhan, who jumped 16 places to touch his career-best ranking of 118. Vardhan and his partner N Sriram Balaji (139) had won the Shenzhen Challenger on Saturday to earn 90 ranking points each.
In the singles, Yuki Bhambri (140) continues to lead the chart and is followed by Ramkumar Ramanathan (148), Prajnesh Gunneswaran (255), Sumit Nagal (331) and Balaji (350).
In the WTA charts, Ankita Raina is India's top-ranked player at number 281 and is followed by Karman Kaur Thandi (307) and Pranjala Yadlapalli (483). In the doubles, Sania was today placed at number 12 following a loss of three places.
Sania figured consistently in top-10 since March 17, 2013. The last time she featured outside top-10 was on March 3, 2013. The Hyderabadi was world number one in doubles through the entire 2016 season. Her slide started this season, which she began as number one but could not qualify for the year-end WTA Finale, where top-eight pairs and top-eight singles players compete.