In 30 years, samantha sharon and devij’s dream of playing at wimbledon together finally came through this year and to top it all, they’ve won their first round. Mixed doubles match against ariel becher and galena voskova. We are joined by samantha and vivid uh division samantha. Thank you very much for being a part of this conversation, guys uh, you won your first round match and despite the fact that you exited in the second round, it must have been a great experience. Talk to our viewers about the experience of playing at wimbledon yeah. I mean wimbledon is my favorite tournament. Um i’ve always wanted to play here as a as a kid, and you know this time. I got to play my sixth wimbledon uh, but it was even more special because i got to play with sam my wife, um yeah um yeah. I i um, i played singles and doubles this year um. I was lucky enough to get a wild card to play. Those and then we entered mixed and didn’t really expect to get in, but then managed to get in as an alternate and won a really close match and had a really close second match. So it just made it a a good end to the to the tournament. I was, i was watching you guys play together and it i couldn’t help but notice the kind of chemistry that you guys have. How long have you played together, because this doesn’t look like a recent partnership on code? How did you guys start playing together? Yeah i mean we’ve uh we’ve known each other for many years now.
We obviously played together at this stage for the first time um. But you know we’ve got the understanding. We know each other’s games really well uh. I support her tennis a lot she supports me. So it was sort of very easy playing with each other. Sometimes it gets tricky. You know when you’re playing with someone for the first time but uh, i think uh. The understanding was that i i knew that she was there to back me up, and i was there to back it up. So it was it was. It was really good and is the feeling mutual for you as well. Samantha yeah i mean absolutely divisions vivid, is a great partner to play with on the court, but also it’s so easy, because we know we know what each other wants to do to best suit their game, but also that we can, we can go for it out. There and there’ll be no judgment, no um, you know no, no one sort of criticizing or anything like that. So we can just do what we want to do and uh know that we’re both giving our best all right. You guys got married in 2019 and, if i’m, not wrong, you guys spent months together in lockdown. How do you guys spend the time together during the lockdown, and how did you guys practice? It must have been really tough, especially for the athlete athletes. Like you yeah. I mean we were lucky to have each other.
You know both of us are professional tennis players. So we we had each other. You know we had a companion to train with. Obviously, at the beginning we weren’t allowed to go to the tennis courts, but you know we would do whatever fitness we could do at home. Together we would do some fun stuff. You know in the back back garden, just doing some volume to wally’s and and all sorts of fitness and going for, runs and stuff like that. So it was great to kind of have her. You know with me uh through through that uh tough time and, like you said this is this is a first tournament together and i honestly hope and pray that there are many more to come. Do you guys have any plans to play in the u.s open and further tournaments and being on the circuit? How often would the fans be able to see you guys together, yeah um, the mixed doubles is only at the grand slam, so you’ve only got four events. A year where it’s possible to enter um and out of those four wimbledon is the biggest draw so it’s the easiest of the four events to get into some years. Um but we’ll definitely enter the other events um. If we’re both there and see what happens. Maybe we could get in as alternates again or if um, if our well, if my ranking can can go up a little bit, then it will make entry a bit more possible.
So we definitely like to play again and we’ll just have to see how it works out there. I would like like to ask you uh. It was a great coincidence, seeing so many indians playing in the wimbledon. There was sanya, there was rohan, bopana, ankita, ram, kumar and, of course, you. It is in fact such a unique experience. What do you think about this representation and do you think we will see more and more participants from india? No definitely it was great uh. You know having them around, we were part of a bubble, so we couldn’t really go out. You know staying at one hotel, so we were spending a lot of time together and you know we were practicing with each other and we were there to support each other. So uh that was great and uh yeah, rohan and sonia have been around for a long time and we’ve got the younger generation now coming up as well. So hopefully we will see a lot more. You know players from india um. You know at wimbledon in the future, and you guys have played together and you must have had great moments, and you must have also had problems as well. Uh talk to us about the problems that you might face, uh playing together, and this is not just for couples, but in general, how tricky is it for people to actually have that connection which translates into performance on the pitch? Well, i don’t know i mean i think, a lot of people like you know in the in the physio room or the or my friends, oh you’re, playing with your wife, but i think we just played so we just played together for the first time at this Level so it was, it was all sweet all smooth, so we didn’t have any issues really like no joking but uh.
I don’t know like i guess. If we play a lot like in the future, maybe i’ll be able to say something about having problems and stuff, but it was uh. It was really special. I guess you know uh for for me to play with her and and share. You know these two matches that we played together at with her yeah. I mean it was. It was something i’d wanted to do for quite a few years, and so it was more just really enjoying getting the chance to play and, as david said it’s, not that we’re playing together each and every week and it’s. You know super competitive every week and stress and any of that it was more just we’ll. Try our best we’ll, give it our best enjoy it, and so it makes it a lot um a lot smoother, absolutely and talking about response. What is the kind of response you guy guys have got on the circuit because it is, it is absolutely very rare for a husband and wife uh to play together in this open era. Yeah i was surprised. Actually, i thought that there would be more sort of married couples. You know in in the past, but we’ve got a great response. I mean a lot of people have come up to us and you know congratulated us and i think they’ve been really excited for us. You know um so uh, yeah, um, yeah, um yeah, i think it’s.
I think it’s just a nice story, as you say, it’s, not that common so i’ve had we had um a few or i had a few players sort of message me and when they saw that we got in his alternates, they were excited to watch and then, When we won, i think everyone was really happy for us as well and how has been the response from friends and family and in fact we saw a lot of expats attending your games. Talk to us about it, yeah it’s it’s been great, i mean uh, you know, uh wimbledon we’ve got a lot of indian following as well, so you always have a lot of support. It’S, always special playing here. I’Ve i’ve played here many years and it’s it’s it’s. Really really amazing the kind of support we get so uh. It was good to you know, see so many people there supporting us uh. You know, and our special connection in the match obviously helped us with getting even more support so uh it was. It was really fun. It was really fun playing uh with all that sort of support all right, uh. This question is for you uh, why? Why did you decide to move on from singles careers uh on to mixed doubles? Well, i mean mixed doubles. Uh, you know, as sam said, it’s just uh at the grand slams and it’s a it’s, a smaller sort of event. So i have not had the chance to play uh that many mixed doubles matches, but i’ve been playing doubles on the circuit for the last 10.
12 years um and – and i think that is obviously my bread and butter and um – you know it’s, obviously a privilege to represent india, the grand slams – and hopefully i can continue to do that in the coming years. Um yeah all right. I also wanted to bring up one very important, uh aspect of the game: uh, the mental mental health side of it and how sports persons are affected by certain things or actions. And i want to take an example of somebody like naomi osaka, who decided not to talk to the media, citing mental health. How do you personally deal with this side of the sport um? I think i think it’s, obviously a different situation for osaka. You know number one in the world her, you know her exposure to media and the demands on her time and her um the expectations of her obviously way way beyond what we have to deal with. So it must be very tough to go from focusing on purely tennis to having so much of that around that it must take a toll on you and um. You can see how that could happen, um for me personally, it at the you know not at the highest level there isn’t a huge amount of media demand, um it’s, more it’s, more about arranging everything else yourself. So you know you’ve got your practice. You’Ve got your tournaments. You’Ve got all your travel you’ve got. You know your hotels you’ve got all that side of it, so that takes up a big chunk of your mental energy, um and it’s tough being on the road.
A lot – and you just have to you know, find a way to do something on the road that you enjoy. It’S been harder. Obviously, during covid you’ve been in the bubbles, so it’s been much more restricted, but hopefully what if that starts to open up, then you know you can go and do something that you know in a city where you are and just something to try and get away From the tennis, for you know one evening a week, sort of thing um and that that’s the way that i have managed to sort of deal with the pressures of being on tour for the last 10 years. All right do you believe that it should be a two way process where the media is equally responsible. Yeah, i feel everybody is different. You know everybody has their own things and there’s. No, comparing you know osaka with uh with me, like she’s, obviously at a different league and different level. She has to do so many media. She has a lot of media obligations and stuff like that. So i can’t really speak for her um. I, on my on my hand, i guess uh, you know it’s it’s great, whatever coverage i get uh, you know when i, when i get to interact with the media, they’ve always been nice and i’ve not been thrown with, like you know, tough questions and and uh. So yeah um for me, it’s it’s, been it’s, been a great relationship with the media and and whatever sort of coverage i get um.
I obviously appreciate it all right now, because i’ve asked you all the simple questions. Let me ask you a tough one, uh, this time, who’s a who is a better player between the two of you. If you watched out mixed, you can see david took over the court very well, so i’d vote for all right and who, between the two of you, has a better forehand or and a better backhand, better forehand. I think sam has one of the best backhands out there, so i’ll say between us. Maybe my friend is a little bit better, yes, and which code do you prefer to play on? Is it a grass court? Is it a hard code or clay code? For me, grass yeah, i i enjoy playing on grass, but probably hardcore it’s, a close second for me all right and who takes control of the game when you are playing mixed doubles. Well, i think both of us uh. You know we were equally involved in the match. Um, you know in my service games uh, you know i would call the plays and then on on in her service came. She was calling most of the plays and we were sort of open to the suggestions like. I would know that the guy played better and then you know she would know the female player better. So you know she would have inputs um, you know, and then i would have input so people, i think yeah.
Even if you watch the the match, you know we were always talking and always communicating so um yeah. I think we, i don’t, think one person was taking more decisions, uh as such so yeah it was. It was good, fun, yeah all right and who, among the two of you, is a better player at the net. I’D i’d say david. For that one i mean he’s obviously played doubles on the tour for so long and i i quite enjoy playing at the net as well, but i don’t think it’s quite in his league all right. What is that? One thing that you guys would love to learn from each other uh. For me, i think uh game wise, sam’s, backhand is is really really good. So if i had her backhand uh, that would be amazing and and uh on the other side, like her her uh fighting like fighting spirit or you know, to never give up and and keep deep working forwards. Uh. You know, i think, that’s one of the best qualities she has so i would definitely like to have that from from her side yeah i i would go for for davidge’s court courage. You could see him all over the place. I mean i didn’t know where he was going sometimes so the opponents really wouldn’t have had much chance, um and then overall his positivity his intensity on court, and then you know just. I think i think the big thing for me is the energy and the positivity, especially in doubles, it’s, really important, all right uh.
Thank you very much guys for sharing your experiences, and we wish you all the best for the future tournaments.