New Delhi:The gruelling qualifying campaign notwithstanding, India's rising tennis star Somdev Devvarman says fatigue will not be a factor when he opens his campaign at the US Open tennis championship in New York.
The two-time winner of the US Collegiate championship and the first Indian in seven years to make a Grand Slam's main draw, dismissed suggestions that he would be tired in his opening match against Poland's Fredrico Gil.
"I am not tired at all. On the contrary I go into the match sharp as I have already played matches, so I am feeling good about the way I am playing," Somdev said.
For the first time, Somdev would be competing in a field which has greats like Roger Federer and fighters like Rafael Nadal. But he is not awestruck.
"I never looked at it that way. I just want to focus on myself and be ready for the challenges that lay ahead of me. There is obviously a lot I can learn from these two incredible players and others like them," he said.
Somdev says he is not getting distracted by the elation caused by his qualification and is focussed on the task ahead.
"Yes I am happy, but there is still a lot more to do in this tournament. I am focussing now on my first round opponent," Somdev said.
"I am just focussing on Frederico Gil right now. One match at a time," he added.
Indian tennis icons like Leander Paes have extolled Somdev for becoming the first Indian since 2001 to have qualified for a Grand Slam.
Paes himself was the last Indian player, who qualified for a Grand Slam when he made the Wimbledon main draw in 2001.
In 2002, Prakash Amritraj played in the US Open but his was a wild card entry. Hence, Indian Davis Cup captain S P Misra has said Somdev's achievement "counts more".
Considering Somdev's performance in the recent past, the qualification for the US Open is hardly a surprise. He made the finals of Chennai Open after taking out some major names in front of adoring home fans.
However, the journey was not smooth thereafter and Somdev has had his ups and down since then.
He continued to stun top players like when he beat World number 13 Marin Cilic at a Washington ATP event but at the same time had pretty ordinary days as well.
Thrice he attempted to make the Grand Slam grade earlier this year but never went the full distance. So, did it take long to reach here?
"It's never late. I have been working hard and at times things don't go your way. You just have to stay solid and keep doing the right things to help you get to where you want to get to," he said, giving ample indications that he is not short of patience and forbearance.