Somdev keen on playing pro-tennis next year

December 23rd, 2008 - 10:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Andy RoddickNew Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) A highly motivated Somdev Devvarman, after a three-week training stint with American world no. 8 Andy Roddick, said he will be focussing on professional tennis more next year. ” I have a feeling that my game is up there for the professional events. I am playing well now and have beaten players in top 50 and top 100 over and over again. Even in the matches I lost, I feel I stood a chance of winning. I believe I can beat anyone, given the right conditions. So I will be playing in 3-4 pro-events before I hope I get a call for the Davis Cup again,” said Somdev, will be playing in the Chennai Open in January and will then head to play in the Australian Open qualifying round.

” I have not played in the Chennai Open but I have watched every match of the tournament. It is very special to me and I am looking forward to it.”

The 23-year-old couldn’t stop raving about his training with Roddick at Texas, Austin where he stayed at the American’s house and was also tutored by his coach Larry Stefanki and fitness trainer Doug Preen. Somdev feels he has improved as a player after his stint with Roddick.

” We were initially supposed to work for ten days. But the first week went so well that we decided to extend it to three weeks. I was also recovering from an injury and having Andy’s coach and trainer around really helped. I got best of the facilities and my injury was gone in a flash, ” said Somdev who had trained with Roddick before in Washinton D.C. in August.

“The focus was to improve small niggles. Like I was told that my feet are my biggest strength and how I can use them to bring more aggression to my game. We worked on my court position , decision making ability during the match and of course the serve.

“I tried to learn his weapons- whether it was his big serve, his forehand or his athleticism. That is why he is a top ten player in the world, ” he said.

The two-time reigning NCAA singles champion moved from being one of the most successful collegiate players to make a successful debut to his professional tennis.

Somdev, who graduated from the University of Virginia in May, took home a total of seven titles in 2008. He swept the singles and doubles championships at three Futures events during the year.

He also claimed his first Challenger title in Lexington in July and reached another final at the Nashville Challenger in November to become India’s No.1 singles player, at 201 in ranking.

The Tripura-born player ,however, said he is not fixed on rankings and believes in being a competitive player. “I am not competing with anybody in the country. I just want to be the best I can be. The no.1 tag is an added perk but is not a pressure. And at the end of the day, every player knows that if they keep playing better, rankings will be taken care of.”

Somdev, who made his Davis Cup debut in February calls it an enriching experience and is keen to make a return.

“It was a great experience. I didn’t win my matches but I tried everything I could. The loss at the Davis Cup improved me as a player. I am a better player now and I hope I get a call again in March.”

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