Ahmedabad Mirror / Updated: Sep 24, 2020, 06:00 IST

The desire to copmpete in a Grand Slam kept India's top junior boy's player going as he gears up for clay challenge.

Playing at a Grand Slam is an honour in itself. It was this simple belief that kept Amdavadi Dev Javia going through 'the period of inaction' as India's top-ranked junior boys' tennis player gears up for French Open Wildcard Series finals. Javia made the cut for the qualifiers in February (Dev's ticket to Paris, AM, February 27) after winning the India leg of Roland Garros Junior Wild Card Series in New Delhi.

While the French Open was originally scheduled from May 24 to June 7, it was postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic which had put a spanner in the lives of sportspersons.

"While a long break could have had an adverse effect on any player, the desire to play at a Grand Slam is so strong in Dev that he never lost the motivation even during the period of inaction," Dev's coach Shrimal Bhatt told Mirror. "The fact he had to make a road trip to Mumbai for the visa proceedings could have been unnerving for a young player like him. But I see no dip in the desire to compete. He is very much excited and looking forward to the clay challenge," Bhatt said.

"I have not played a competitive match since March. I am really looking forward to this tournament to restart my career," 18-year-old Javia said.

Talking about the challenges, Bhatt said, "We try to cope with the physical conditioning through online sessions. But the biggest challenge, I feel, is the lack of match practice. We have some really good players in our academy who practised with Dev after the unlockdown. We tried to simulate match situations in those practice sessions, but we cannot replace a real match," Bhatt said.

Acknowledging that there is no replacement for a realistic experience, Javia said that he is not bothered much by the lack of it. "We can only try to recreate, but a realistic experience is altogether different. I guess it will be the same for everyone. We just have to dust off the rust and get into action," he added.