'Incredible' is one of the most overused words in sport, what we witnessed at Delhi's RK Khanna Stadium this afternoon was nothing short of it.
124 places below Jiri Vesely, few had given Somdev Devvarman a chance of taking a set off the Czech. Add to that how Yuki Bhambri was dismantled in the tie-opener by Lukas Rosol and there was a sense of pensiveness around the complex.
What ensued, though, took everyone by surprise. The young lad from Tripura did not just challenge the top seed of the team which has won 2 Davis Cup titles over the last 4 years but completely annihilated him.
Throughout the game, it almost seemed that he had everything under control: himself, to start off with, but also a crowd of illustrious teammates, who cheered for him like a superstar, powering him along with bursts of applause and whistles like something out of an Olympic venue. Most important of all, he had his opponent convinced that he indeed was a cut above him on the day.
Also, in process he preserved his impeccable record at the Delhi Lawn Tennis Association, a venue where he has won 3 national titles and has lost a match since 2010.
In an interaction with the media after the match, he said, “I am so relieved to finally list a win over a Top 50 ranked player, it obviously would be even better if I can pull off another such performance on Sunday.”
Talking about the team’s performance so far and chances of qualifying for the World Group, he added, “It’s a team effort. All the guys spurred me on.
We are coming off a really good season, as you would know Yuki just won a tournament and Lea and Rohan are the best in the world anyway. I am pretty confident thus that we will be able to sustain the momentum and pull off a win.”
Come tomorrow, our biggest Davis Cup hero over the years and perhaps the greatest player to emerge out of Asia – Leander Paes – will take the court with Rohan Bopanna in the crucial doubles tie. If we do indeed manage to pull off a win in it, there is a good chance Somdev will take the court on Sunday against Lukas Rosol knowing that another ‘incredible’ performance will take India storming back in to the World Group, a feat the team haven’t managed to achieve since 2011.Published 19 Sep 2015, 09:55 IST