The Telegraph
Sunday , February 9 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Somdev goes back to basics

Calcutta: The year hasn’t started the way Somdev Dev Varman would have liked to. And that has forced him to go back to basics.

While he had to struggle to beat Ti Chen of Chinese Taipei in Davis Cup, he suffered crushing losses to Ramkumar Ramanathan (Chennai Open) and Yuki Bhambri (Chennai Challenger), players against whom he should have won easily.

No wonder Somdev is disappointed with his form. Arriving in the city, on Saturday morning, to play in the $50,000 ATP Challenger Tour Kolkata, the main round of which starts from Monday, he said he was trying too many things and that led to his undoing.

“See, I am terribly disappointed… For me, every loss is demotivating and depressing. But I know how to make a comeback. I always try and look at the positives. The losses spur me on and inspire me to get better.

“I think I was trying too many things… Now, I am back to working on my basics. I don’t believe in short cuts and I am always striving hard to make improvements,” Somdev told The Telegraph after slogging out at the Bengal Tennis Association (BTA) courts for over 90 minutes.

Asked what will be his game plan for the upcoming Challenger, he said: “My aim is to play good tennis and play to the best of my abilities. The rest depends on luck. I am sure I will be back to my best in this tournament.”

Before the Chennai Challenger, Somdev spearheaded India’s campaign in the Davis Cup tie against Chinese Taipei. Somdev struggled, but the Indian team faced little problems in brushing aside their opponents.

India will next face South Korea, a team they have failed to defeat. Somdev, however, sounded confident that they will be able to cross the hurdle this time around.

Asked whether the side needs the experience of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, he said: “The guys are aware of their job in hand. We will give our best. I don’t think we need experience. I am confident that we will do well against South Korea.

Somdev will be playing in the city after almost 10 years, last featuring in the ITF Futures at the Saturday Club. Things have changed a lot since then… From being a relatively unknown player back then he has gone on to become India’s No. 1 singles player.

Speaking about his Calcutta memories, he said: “I have spent my childhood here, staying here till I was 8. See, childhood memories are always sweet and I have had a good time here. I like the culture. I keep on visiting the city. So winning the Challenger here will be special.”