What’s the story?
Indian singles star Somdev Devvarman has announced his retirement via social media today. The 30-year-old, who has struggled with injuries and form in the last few years, will no longer represent self or country on the international tennis stage as he has before.
Devvarman has been largely absent from the tennis scene in 2016, but several had hoped for a return from the player this year. That will no longer be the case, with the injury-prone player, one of India’s foremost singles talents in his heyday, choosing to leave playing the sport full-time.
In case you didn’t know...
Somdev Devvarman was once India’s top-ranked men’s singles player. A skilled tennis player, he took up the sport aged only 9 and began playing on the Futures circuit in India before progressing to the collegiate level in the United States, where he studied at the University of Virginia.
Doubles star Treat Huey, who was his partner at the collegiate level, partnered Devvarman in his initial days of going pro in 2008.
He did well that year, winning a number of Challenger events, and went on a long winning streak that was eventually broken by Japan’s Go Soeda.
Devvarman continued his good form well into 2009, when he made his first ATP final.
A graduate of sociology from the University of Virginia, Devvarman had one of the best years of his career in 2010, when he was especially successful representing India. That year, 25-year-old Devvarman won medals in the singles, doubles and team tennis events at the Asian Games, with one gold apiece in singles and doubles and a bronze in team.
He also won singles gold at the Commonwealth Games that year in New Delhi, and led India’s Davis Cup team against Russia.
That year, he broke the top 100, ending the year at 94th in the ATP standings. He would see fair consistency the following year to make the 66th ranking on the ATP standings.
Devvarman’s famous injury woes began to take the forefront in 2012, when the first signs of the severity of his shoulder injury emerged. That injury saw him sit out a significant portion of the early half of the 2012 season.
Returning from his injuries in late 2012 and even 2013, Devvarman entered a number of tournaments under a protected ranking, but despite strong early starts failed to fire consistently in his recovery period.
Several had been hoping for the return of Devvarman, a regular feature on India’s Davis Cup side for many years – as had the team’s captain Anand Amritraj, and several members of the All-India Tennis Association. His retirement will leave a spot on the team – but one that could ably be filled.
A number of collegiate players go on to coach – so it is possible Devvarman may take up a coaching role in India or the United States, but he is yet to speak out on his future plans.
Devvarman’s retirement, although unsurprising leaves a big space on the singles for India’s Davis Cup team – but 2016 saw a number of India’s tennis sensations display their talent. Saketh Myneni, who went through a low patch in previous years, had a breakthrough 2016 – successful at the Davis Cup and in the singles; Myneni made the main draw of the US Open last year, and came close to defeating top-50 player Jiri Vesely in a strongly fought encounter.
India also has an able talent in Sumit Nagal, and should Yuki Bhambri be fit for the 2017 season, this could be a good shake-up for Indian tennis.Published 01 Jan 2017, 14:11 IST