Vijay Amritraj tips Somdev Devvarman to get back to best soon
Somdev Devvarman has been struggling since the start of the season, as he suffered defeats at the hand of his young compatriots, the latest coming against Yuki Bhambri in the semifinals of the Chennai Challenger event.
Lack of confidence is what is ailing Somdev Devvarman's game these days but it will take just a win or two to bring India's number one singles player back to his best, feels legendary Vijay Amritraj.
Somdev has been struggling since the start of the season, as he suffered defeats at the hand of his young compatriots, the latest coming against Yuki Bhambri in the semifinals of the Chennai Challenger event.
"Yuki is playing with good confidence and that is one of the key elements that Somdev was lacking in the last one month or so. Once he gets out of that, lack of confidence situation, he will be back to where he belongs," Amritraj told PTI on the sidelines of a sports conference, organised by NGO Magic Bus.
"It's just a win. One or two wins here and there. Then he will cause some serious damage," he said about Somdev, who was nominated as the most improved player of the season 2013.
Somdev lost to rookie Ramkumar Ramanathan in his season-opener at the Chennai Open.
The 60-year-old, who reached Wimbledon doubles semifinals with brother Anand in 1976, said it was not easy being in Somdev's shoes.
"It's very easy to play when you are 19 but not easy to play when you are 35. In between there are lot of problems because expectation levels are high, secondly it is very hard to play when you are number one in the country. Everyone is gunning for you," he said.
"Bad losses and good wins will keep coming. It's fine to have bad losses, if you have good wins. You look at a person's career over whole season and not one tournament here and there," he added.
Talking about the Yuki-Somdev semifinal in Chennai last week, Amritraj said," Yuki played well in that match, he hit more winners from the back of the court, he was more aggressive.
That comes with confidence, which you get from Davis Cup. He also played well in Australian Open and Chennai Open. So, all this is adding to the confidence. He believes he can win and that is 90 per cent of the battle."
Amritraj said Yuki has it in him to make the top-50 grade. He noticed that Yuki's game has improved in the last 12 months but his backhand needs to be better.
"His backhand is a better shot than what it was a year ago. He is stiff on the rotation of backhand. I don't think he releases it enough. He might be a little stiffer on that part. His serve has also improved and he is moving forward a lot, which is very important," he said.
"I think he can make the top-50. The last player we had in top-50 was Ramesh Krishnan. Also it can't be one-off thing. You have to stay there and it's not simple. It takes period of time," he said.
"Tennis revolves around singles, everything else is immaterial. You can't be on the border line. Somdev and Yuki will be able to do this year."
Amritraj said the future of Indian tennis looks bright with the talented youngsters, including Saketh Myneni, Sanam Singh and Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan around.
"If somebody has a bad day, the other guy takes his place. The next decade looks promising. It would be great if Anand does some camps with AITA during the year so that they get a chance to work together and help the players individually with strategic development," he said.