Thursday, October 04, 2007

BLOG INTERVIEW - Somdev Dev Varman

When Somdev Dev Varman won the NCAA championship in May this year, it caught the Indian media by surprise. The 22-year-old had become the first Indian winner of the premier American collegiate event, emulating the likes of John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe.

Surely, it was time for Dev Varman to say goodbye to the University of Virginia and turn professional. After all, the man he beat in the NCAA final - American John Isner - is already making waves on the ATP Tour. And doesn't India desperately need a male Sania Mirza?

For the moment, Dev Varman is content playing the occasional ATP tournament - he was last seen in action as a wildcard at the Kingfisher Airlines Open, Mumbai.

In this exclusive interview, Dev Varman told The Indian Tennis Blog he isn't ready to put away his books till May next year.

Several people are astonished that you seem to be putting your college degree over tennis. When are you going to turn professional?
I'm planning on turning pro after I graduate and finish up the NCAA team and individual tournament in May 2008. I feel graduating and getting a degree from the University of Virginia is a special thing and I've enjoyed my time there so far. I have no regrets of returning to school and hope to help my team be the frontrunners for a national championship this year.
Do you think staying back in India would have hindered your career?
No, I don't think it would have at all. Going to college was just another option for my life and my tennis. Indian tennis is growing and we're developing many juniors thanks to the efforts of the organisations in control.
Which tennis player is your idol and which is your favourite surface?
It's hard not to like Federer. He's a great player and represents the sport in the best way possible. I like playing on hard and clay.
John Isner, the player you beat in the NCAA final, is now the talk of the ATP tour for his meteoric rise up the rankings. Any comments?
John is a great player and a good friend. I'm a bit surprised that he has made his move this quickly but I thought it was going to happen sooner or later for sure. His serve is absolutely enormous and he's very mentally tough and focused. I'm happy for him and hopefully I'll be able to join him there soon after I graduate.
Can we see you playing more events in India in the future?
I would love to play some events in India if I'm given the opportunity.
What apart from playing tennis gives you a high?
Apart from playing tennis, I enjoy playing pretty much any sport. I love hanging out with friends and having a good time. I also love listening to music and watching movies in my free time.
(This interview was first published on The Indian Tennis Blog)
Should Somdev Dev Varman turn professional?
Yes - he's wasting his best formative years
No - he will peak gradually this way
Can't say
  
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Mahesh Dattani
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