Indian tennis player Somdev Devvarman announced his retirement from professional tennis on 1st January 2017. The 31 year old broke the news via his twitter page. Once deemed to be the face of Indian Tennis in men’s singles, he claimed that the biggest reason for this decision was his loss of passion for the game.
“Certain things you can’t fake, and in tennis you can’t fake passion. That was one of my biggest strengths; one of the things that kept me going was my passion, and it kept diminishing every year.
Once I knew it was going to be difficult to stay in the top-100, then it became an easy decision.”
Devvarman was born in Guwahati, Assam. He grew up in Kolkata and Chennai, which is where he started playing Tennis first, at the age of 9.
He started playing Futures tournaments in 2002. The same year he moved to USA to attend college at the University of Virginia. That is where he started competing at the collegiate level. His most notable achievements there include winning back to back NCAA Singles National Championships in 2007 and 2008, defeating John Isner and John-Patrick Smith in the finals, respectively.
In the summer of 2008 he turned professional and won his first career title at the Futures tournament in Rochester, New York. That year he played a handful of Futures and main draw tournaments. He played fairly decent throughout and as a result he ended as the year World #204, rising from #1033. In 2009 he reached his first tour final in his home tournament of Chennai, where he beat much higher ranked players like Carlos Moya and Ivo Karlovic, before falling to Marin Cilic in the finals. Later that year at the US Open, he made his first main draw entry at a Grand Slam event. He lost to Phillip Kohlschreiber in the second round.In 2010 he entered main draws of French Open and US Open and lost in the first round of both of these events. Devvarman ended the year World #94.
2011 can be termed as the best year of his singles career. He made multiple quarterfinals at low level tournaments. He received entry in main draws of the French Open and Wimbledon where he lost in the first and the second rounds, respectively. The two most notable results during the season were reaching the fourth round of Indian Wells Masters 1000 and third round of Miami Masters 1000. In Miami he stunned the World #34, Milos Raonic in the second round. As a result he ended as the World #66. On 25th July, he reached was ranked #62, his career high in the singles ranking.
Due to a shoulder injury he was sidelined for majority of 2012. His ranking fell to #664 as a result of high inactivity. In 2013 he made it to main draws of a number tournaments. In 2014 he won the singles of the 2014 and 2015 Delhi Open. In March 2016, at a Futures tournament in Bakersfield, CA, he failed to compete in the quarterfinal, due to nagging injuries and gave his opponent a walkover, marking his ROund of 16 win there as his last match.
In a nutshell, Devvarman won 5 Challenger and 4 Futures tournaments in singles. In his doubles career, he made it to several main draws at the Majors and won 2 Challenger and 4 Futures tournaments.
Devvarman has been an active participant in the Davis Cup matches for India. Not only in singles, but he has also played a pivotal role in doubles for Indian Tennis. He competed in 24 singles rubbers and won 14 of them. His most memorable victories came against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia and Jiri Vesely of Czech Repbublic in the World Group Playoffs of 2014 and 2015, respectively. He won some crucial matches and led the country to memorable victories. Apart from that, he earned the nation a gold medal in singles at the 2010 Commonwealth games. He also won two gold medals, in both singles and doubles, at the 2010 Asian Games. He was conferred the Arjuna Award (India’s second highest sporting honour) in 2011.