Indian tennis player Prithvi Sekhar is differently-abled from birth but the 26-year-old sees the sport as an opportunity to prove he is “normal”. He won the singles gold, beating four seeded players, without dropping a set and also bagged the doubles bronze with Prashanth Dasharath Harsambhavi.
Indian tennis player Prithvi Sekhar has problems in hearing and he is differently-abled. But the 26-year-old sees the sport as an opportunity, to prove he is “normal.” The unseeded Indian won the men’s singles final at the 2019 World Deaf Tennis Championship in Antalya, Turkey, beating four seeded players without dropping a set. He also won a bronze in the men’s doubles with Prashanth Dasharath Harsambhavi.
“Tennis made me feel I am equal to others and not less,” Prithvi told Scroll.in.
"Sports really shaped my personal life. It made me mentally tough and helped to face unfavorable situations,” he added.
According to Prithvi, his mental make-up was a crucial factor in his win against the higher-ranked opponents and the triumph has given him a lot of self-confidence. Prithvi competes in both the open category as well as the deaf circuit. While he uses a hearing aid when he plays on the regular circuit, he has also sharpened his ability to rely solely on his eyes. At the previous edition of the World Deaf championship, Prithvi had made the quarter-finals of singles and doubles. At the 2017 Deaflympics, he won the mixed bronze with Jafreen Shaik and believes he has improved since then by playing more professional matches.
“In 2015, the players [I played against] were good. Even then, I played decently and said to myself ‘I can do better next time and work harder and aim for the medal’. Since the last Deaflympics, I have improved my game by playing more ITF and AITA matches. My international exposure helped to sharpen my game,” he explained.
“In ITF, I have reached the main draw twice and even scored an ATP point. It proved that I can do well and perform my best in the tournaments. I felt that ITF has good quality players to get experience and play more matches in order to perform better."