London: India’s Somdev Devvarman believes he is in good shape to tackle the challenge of playing in the Olympic tennis tournament next week.
The 27-year-old was given a wild card to play in the prestigious event after a shoulder injury halted his rise up the rankings late last year.
Devvarman had to undergo a shoulder operation in November, giving him a setback just as he was playing the best tennis of his career. He had established himself as one of the up-and-coming stars on the ATP Tour, with his efforts against world number one Roger Federer at the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open in particular giving his fans reason to celebrate.
He was also fresh from winning the men’s singles gold at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games — the first continental gold for an Indian tennis player.
“I also beat some of the top-30 players in the world and climbed my way to No 62 [the highest singles ranking by an Indian after Ramesh Krishnan],” Devvarman told media on the sidelines of India’s flag-hoisting ceremony at the Olympics Village here.
“When I started playing my dream was to represent my country and this dream has been fulfilled. I have been lucky to do something for my country.”
But then came the injury and it was only a wild card that ensured he will get the opportunity to play at Wimbledon next week. “I suppose every player has his highs and lows. Tennis has become a very demanding sport and it impacts your body. But you have to live with it,” said Devvarman, who will discover who he faces at the Olympics when the draw takes place on Thursday.
“The news [getting a wild card] was not a total surprise as I had a chance, though I will not say that I expected it. Anyway I am happy I got it. I am feeling superb and mentally prepared for a good showing.”
Devvarman also reiterated his desire to concentrate on singles events on the ATP Tour for the time being.
“For sure, I will be concentrating on the singles as I am only 27 years old and I have a few more years to go. So I prefer playing singles and that is my goal for now,” he said.
And now that he has achieved his goal of a Wimbledon slot, Devvarman wants to meet the American NBA squad and the fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt. “I am looking forward to meeting some other sporting greats as well,” he said.