What’s the story?
The Indian tennis fraternity today, came together to acknowledge the contributions of Somdev Devvarman to the sport in the country and the benchmarks he has set for the up and coming youngsters.
Somdev, earlier, announced his retirement from the sport on New Year’s Day on Twitter. The 31-year-old tennis star represented India in the prestigious Davis Cup and was a part of many memorable victories.
The likes of SP Misra, Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Saketh Myneni and Sania Mirza all came out to pay their tributes to Somdev as they expressed their surprise at the tennis star’s early retirement.
“For me, he is the best Davis Cupper in singles that I have seen. There are greats like Ramanathan and Ramesh Krishnan and Leander Paes but when I started playing I have seen him. He pushed us and showed us the way. We now how difficult it has become today when the courts are slow the balls are heavy and he sustained there. He set a benchmark for us,” said Yuki Bhambri.
In case you didn’t know…
Somdev was by far India’s most successful singles player of the current generation. He turned pro in 2008 and within three years, in July 2011, he achieved a career-high ranking of 62. His best performances came in the ATP 250 events in Chennai in 2009 and in Johannesburg in 2011, where he finished as the runners-up. Of course, he scripted many famous wins on the Challenger circuit as well.
His record in the 14 Davis Cup ties that he featured in stands at 14 wins and 10 defeats in singles.
The heart of the matter
The former captain of the Indian Davis Cup team, SP Misra lauded Somdev’s fitness as he told PTI, “Indian players can learn from him how to be so fit. He was a fitness freak. He played some great matches in Davis Cup. People can take a leaf out of his book. He also played some great matches at the Asian Games as well. His contribution to Indian tennis is tremendous.”
Misra also singled out the ties against Chinese Taipei and Serbia, where Somdev beat Lu and Janko Tipsarevic, as his standout performances. “We made it to the World Group twice and that was his major contribution,” Misra said.
Myneni, who is the highest ranked Indian in the world at 192, said, “The kind of champion he is I thought he will give it one more shot. It’s a challenge for us also now to fill in those shoes.”
Ramkumar Ramanathan said, “Players will come and go but having Somdev around was very encouraging. He always helped me with his advice. He was very easy going.”
Sania Mirza also congratulated Somdev on his career earlier today.
Somdev’s retirement leaves a huge hole in the Indian team, one that needs to be filled sooner rather than later. The youngsters have their task cut out for them. It is high time they pull up their socks and perform at the highest level.
For Somdev, it is possible that he could take up a coaching role in India or overseas but he has not yet shed light on his future.
That the youngsters realise the importance of Somdev is in itself a huge positive. Many other upcoming players will be looking to take his place in the team. These are indeed exciting times to be a tennis fan in this country.
Tweet speakPublished 02 Jan 2017, 18:31 IST