Somdev: 'Diminishing passion made me quit'

Somdev Devvarman, who shocked everyone by announcing his retirement, on Monday said that his diminishing passion was one of the main reasons which prompted him to quit.

On the AITA: “I didn’t feel let down by them because I didn’t have any expectations from them. I always thought they were not really interested in helping or creating a system.   -  R. Ragu

Somdev Devvarman, who shocked everyone by announcing his retirement, on Monday said that his diminishing passion was one of the main reasons which prompted him to quit. “There are certain things you can’t fake, in tennis you can’t fake passion. For me that was one of my biggest strength. One of the things that kept me going and kept me winning was passion, it kept diminishing every year. Once I realised that, once I knew it was going to be difficult to stay in the top 100, then it became an easy decision for me (to quit),” he said.

He also came down strongly on the AITA, “I didn’t feel let down by them because I didn’t have any expectations from them. I always thought they were not really interested in helping or creating a system. We need to change our culture of understanding of what it takes to be a professional tennis player.”

Recalling an incident he said, “I was called for a Davis Cup tie in 2007 and was stranded at the airport. At that time I knew I can’t rely on unreliable people.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the Chennai Open, the 31-year-old said he had no regrets looking back at his career, “I am pretty happy with my career considering how I started. If you look at a 18-19 year-old now, who has had a career graph as me, you are quick to write him off. I was off the radar for a while, then came back here to reach the top 100 for a few years, then was a top Davis Cup player. So career wise no regrets.

“I think if I had done things different in my early career, I could have been top 50. But it’s easy in hindsight. Everyone is going to make mistakes. It is question of learning from it. I did pretty well as my career went on. 2011 would have been crucial if I had not been hurt. But I haven't lost sleep thinking about it what I could have achieved if not for the injury.

“I am also happy with the way I conducted myself, I was always honest and professional. I gave my best, I was often criticised for my game style which is a part of professional sport, but nobody could criticise the way I fought and competed, both on and off the court.”

Talking more about his retirement decision, he said: “It wasn’t a calculated decision, once I stopped playing in March, I met my family and coaches and let them know that this is what I was feeling. Everyone told me to take my time, not to make a rash decision or an emotional decision. Then I took a month off, in April I was feeling similarly and by May I was sure. By this time I let all my peers know.

“When I came back to India people were questioning and things weren’t clear. I was very sure about what I didn’t want to do; once that happened I figured out I will make an announcement.”

He termed his 2009 Davis Cup victory over Rik DeVoest as his most memorable win, “That tie sealed the deal, and bought us back into the World Stage. Coming back from two sets to love down and winning it was pretty cool.”

Speaking about his future, he said he hasn’t finalised anything yet and will be able to present a clearer picture in a couple of month’s time.