Tennis

Somdev hopes to break into the top 50

OPTIMISTIC: Somdev Devvarman has big hopes for the coming year. Photo: M. Vedhan  

“Whenever people ask me where I'm from, I always say ‘Chennai',” said Somdev Devvarman, Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallist, at a felicitation organised by the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association here on Thursday.

The Guwahati-born, Chennai-seasoned player — presently 108 in the rankings — stood humbly on the dais as he was draped with a blue angavastram.

Somdev, a direct entry into the Chennai Open main draw, also received an Omega wrist watch — a souvenir from Aircel.

Thanking one and all

“It was a complete coincidence that I moved to Chennai and picked up a tennis racquet. There are so many people to thank for where I am today. Ilyas (Hussain), Abbas (Ali Baig), Ramlinga Reddy helped me a lot during my younger days. My parents too have been very supportive,” he said.

Asked about his style of play, and how his baseline proficiency compared with that of the other backcourt punchers, Somdev said that most players in the top 100 were baseliners.

“I guess I'm in the majority group. There aren't too many people who have the skills of the gentleman in the front row to slice the ball and head for the net on each point,” he said, pointing to his “inspiration”, former player Ramesh Krishnan, who was also in attendance.

Aside from gold in men's singles in Delhi and Guangzhou, Somdev paired up with Sanam Singh to take the top spot in the Asian Games doubles.

“I always give my best when I play for the country. My target for the coming year is to crack the top 50,” he said.

Earlier, TNTA President M.A. Alagappan presented a concise timeline of the 25-year-old's career, starting from when he was selected for the Brittania Amritraj Tennis Academy (2001), his making of Tamil Nadu's National team (2003), to his storming into the final of the Chennai Open (2009).

TNTA Vice-President Karti P. Chidambaram called these times in Indian tennis the “era of Somdev”, saying that the player would always have the “full support” of the State and National associations.


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Printable version | Sep 24, 2021 12:15:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/tennis/Somdev-hopes-to-break-into-the-top-50/article15613095.ece

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