Chennai: Somdev Devvarman has called time on his career. The tennis player, who is coaching Prajnesh Gunneswaran, announced his retirement on Twitter: Starting 2017 on a new note, retiring from pro tennis. Thanks to everyone for the love and support over the years. #newyearnewbeginnings.”
Somdev, who reached a career high singles ranking of 62, is the only Indian player to have played in an ATP Tour final — in the Chennai Open in 2009 and the South African Open in 2011. He had been an important part of the Indian Davis Cup team since his debut against Uzbekistan in 2008.
The high point of Somdev’s career was winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal in 2010. He also nailed the singles and doubles gold at the 2010 Asian Games, only the second player to achieve the double.
Somdev is also a former champion at the NCAA, the pinnacle of college tennis in the US.
Leander Paes fielded questions on Somdev’s retirement. “I’m not sure what it is to be a coach; I mentor a lot of young kids. I know Somdev has not been playing for a long time; it has been almost two years. Not all great tennis players make great coaches.
“It is about communication, commitment, honesty and the relationship you build with the player that make you a great coach,” he said.
According to Paes, Somdev was one of the fittest players around. “Let’s not forget that he is the only Indian to get to the final of the Chennai Open. Prajnesh would do well to have someone like Somdev to help with his fitness,” he said.
Prajnesh, 27, said that Somdev knows what it takes to reach the top 100. “He is very good tactically. Somdev knows exactly what he wants to do in training. I just listen to him because he is focused and brings a lot of intensity to practice sessions,” he added.