Jumping straight into the world’s biggest sporting event after an eight-month long forced sabbatical is not how an athlete would have planned his comeback, but Somdev Devvarman says he is ready for the tough battle ahead in the London Olympics.
Somdev has been out of action due to a shoulder surgery since the start of the season and started practising only recently.
Ideally, he could have played some competitive tennis before the Games, which would have given him a chance to gauge his match fitness and sharpness.
But Somdev opted out of Wimbledon, a tournament which would have given him vital clues about the conditions and the courts since Olympics’s tennis events will be played in the same venue.
Somdev said he just followed his doctors’ advise to skip the grass court Grand Slam but is readying himself well for the Games.
Thanks to the wild card entry into the men’s singles, he will be one of the four Indians making his Olympic debut when the Games begin next month.
“I am ready to make the most of the wild card. This is a very exciting time for me,” Somdev told PTI.
Somdev, who became quite a sensation in Indian tennis after making the final of the 2009 Chennai Open before fading out, said he himself was keen to compete in Wimbledon.
“There was a realistic chance (of playing in Wimbledon).
But I opted out of Wimbledon on the advice of my doctors, just to be on the safer side for my future,” Somdev said.
Somdev, known for his doggedness and penchant for playing long matches, said he is on the road to recovery and would do everything possible under the sun to get a good result for the country.
“It is a very very competitive field. I’ll prepare really well and will do everything I can to be match-ready. Once I step on the court I will give it my all,” Somdev, Asian and CWG gold medallist, said.
“The shoulder is healing very well. I have started hitting and so far so good.”
Somdev had made himself available for pairing with Leander Paes for the men’s doubles for the Olympics just ahead of the official announcement, but AITA chose Vishnu Vardhan ahead of him.
The rumours mill had spread the word that since he is managed by Mahesh Bhupathi’s sports management company - Globosport - he was ignored by AITA.
Asked why he was not chosen by AITA, Somdev was cautious in his reply.
“I’m sure the AITA had their reasons and I accept their decision,” he said.
He also refused to comment when asked about the bitter selection row that hogged the limelight a few days back.