Delhi tennis fans have a new hero in Somdev

Monday, October 11, 2010

NEW DELHI - Somdev Devvarman is Delhi’s new tennis hero after his gold-winning performance in the Commonwealth Games here Sunday. The young fans at the R. K. Khanna Tennis Stadium, chanting “Somdev, Somdev, Somdev… in between the points and changeover.

Somdev will be known as the first player to win a gold in men’s singles since he won it in the debut year of tennis in the Games. It was also the only gold India won, though the expectations were that they would at least win four.

The 25-year-old Indian later expressed his gratitude bowing with a “namaste” to an adulating crowd and said it spurred him on during the final.

“I feel ecstatic. This is the first time I have played for my country like this. It’s one of the many gold medals India has won, mine is a small contribution but it feels great,” Somdev said.

“The crowd was unbelievable. They were into the match from the beginning and they really helped me when I was down. In fact, I was not very happy with my serve and then came up with a backhand pass to set up a breakpoint at 3-3, I would not have been able to do so had I not got the crowd support. They helped me a lot.”

Somdev was delighted by the experience of being part of the Games contingent and the Village life.

“The whole experience has been amazing. The security has been a bit too much but that is understandable as they can’t leave any margin of error. The facilities at the stadium have been excellent, there is not much I can complain about.

“I was amazed at the following tennis has in Delhi and I hope it only grows not only here but in the entire country with the facilities they have for tennis.”

Tennis will not be included in the next Commonwealth Games at Glasgow and Somedev said it is unfortunate.

“It is unfortunate. If we can draw this kind of a crowd for one gold medal, then it is a mistake not to have it in Glasgow. I don’t know why it has not been included,” he shrugged.

Somdev has now flown to play in the Tashkent Open in Uzbekistan.

Filed under: Commonwealth Games, Tennis

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