Davis Cup: Somdev Devvarman not taking Chinese Taipei easy

Updated: 30 January 2014 20:11 IST

Chinese Taipei will be missing the services of their top two players, world number 54 Yen-Hsun Lu and Jimmy Wang (154).


Somdev Devavarman today said the equation has certainly changed in the Asia/Oceania Group I tie with Chinese Taipei not having their top two players, but insisted that they won't take the visitors lightly since possibility of upsets is more in Davis Cup matches.

Taipei will not have the services of world number 54 Yen-Hsun Lu and Jimmy Wang (154) and will be led by Tsung-Hua Yang, who is ranked 216.

"Definitely it changes the equation. The top two guys are extremely tough but having said that, tennis is an individual game and everyone is capable of good wins. Everyone who has played at this level, has had upsets, has made upsets. On any given day anyone can beat anyone in Davis Cup. It has happened," Somdev, who is the highest-ranked player in the tie at 103, said after a two-hour practice session.

"No complacency whatsoever. We are taking this tie extremely serious," he added.

Talking about his form as he did not have a good start to season, suffering defeats in first round of Chennai Open and Australian Open, Somdev said it won't matter much.

"I did not play my best on that day (against Ramkumar Ramanathan) and in Australia as well, unfortunately that guy (Feliciano Lopez) was better than me on that day. I would have loved to have more matches coming. But whether you are in good form or not your approach towards playing a Davis Cup match does not change," said Somdev here at Indore Tennis Club.

"I have been practicing incredibly hard in the last couple of weeks. You are going to be nervous, playing for your country. Hopefully this time we play better."

Somdev will play the second singles against 284th-ranked Ti Chen, against whom he enjoys a 2-0 record. He defeated Chen in 2009 in a Davis Cup tie and then at the Asian Games in 2010. However, Somdev refused to be labelled as an outright favourite against Chen.

"The last couple of times I won but it's long time ago, so don't want to take anything lightly. Like Anand has said, it's going to be a tough match for us, very tricky. So we are doing all the things we can do to best prepare for it and give our best shot tomorrow," he said.

Somdev is hopeful that Yuki will provide India a 1-0 lead as he is in good form. Yuki will clash with Yang in the first singles.

"He's been playing extremely well of late and he's coming in from a couple of good wins in Australia. Hope that confidence carries through, a lot of time it does," he said.

Asked how he and Rohan, being the senior members of the side lead the youngsters, Somdev said he shared a great bond with his teammates.

"I have played a lot of tournament with these guys. Sanam has been a teammate for a long time and I have known Jeevan (Nedunchezhiyan) since we were kids, we have grown up playing together in Chennai. It's a good group of guys. Important thing is to have good camaraderie.

"Jeevan asked me what kind of suit he needs to bring, so it's not really that much of leadership, rather (it's) just being friends with the guys and help them through in things they have never seen before.

"Last night we had fun at the dinner where we made the rookies dance in front of everyone. I don't know if they are happy with that kind of leadership. It's a Davis Cup tradition that we have some fun at their expense. Guys are getting along great. We are trying to help each other out whether it's stretching, or eating," he explained.

"I think everything starts with good camaraderie with the guys and when everyone wants to be here and do the best for the country, it is really easy thing to do."

The courts at the ITC are medium-speed tailor made to suit Somdev's style of play -- slugging it out from the baseline. However, Somdev said it was difficult to predict what kind of tennis would be played in the tie.

"You would think you would see quite a few long rallies but the way Saketh and Rohan are playing, you don't see long rallies with their kind of serve. Yuki has been serving well as well. The other guy (Yang) has made a Challenger final five days ago, so you don't know what kind of tennis they are going to play, what kind of tennis we are going to play.

"May be all of us serve well and you don't see much rally and may be court conditions come into play. You never know, there is so much nervous energy on first day," he said.

Somdev said the aim was to re-qualify for the 16-nation elite World Group but they would take one step at a time.

"We are not even focussed (thinking) on rest of year but obviously, it is our goal to get back to the World Group but it's baby steps. We have a job on our hands. All of us will try and pull each other through. Take it one step at a time," Somdev said.

Topics : Tennis
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