Sunday, January 11, 2009

Thrilled Somdev keeps his feet on the ground - Youngster becomes first indian to reach Chennai open fina

Somdev Dev Varman on Saturday said he would not let himself go overboard after reaching the Chennai Open final, his maiden appearance in an ATP Tour summit clash.

“I don’t want to go ahead of myself. It is one tournament and one performance, not an entire year. I don’t want to think of me as something I am not,” Somdev said after receiving a walkover in the semi-final from world No. 33 Rainer Schuettler of Germany.

“It could have been different. I could have drawn (Marin) Cilic (the third seed and his opponent in the final) or Nikolay Davydenko (world no. 5 and top seed who was out in the second round with an injury). I am still confident and keen to play in the final, but I don’t want to be caught up (by the hype) at this stage.”

Somdev said he would have preferred to make it to the final by winning the semi-final but would not lose focus after Schuettler’s withdrawal due to a wrist injury.

“You never take comfort from a walk-over. It is unfortunate. I was actually looking forward to and excited about playing today in front of the big crowd,” he said.

“There was a day’s break earlier also (when rain washed out play on Wednesday) but I don’t want to get too complicated about these things. I want to keep it simple.

“I want to do the routines as before, eat the right food and sleep on time, and not let these things affect my performance.”

The Chennai Open has issued wild cards to Indians in the past but this is the first time a home favourite has entered the final.

It is the same city where he grew up honing his racquet skills and the fans have flocked the Nungambakkam stadium to show their support for him this week.

Somdev acknowledged the crowd support. “You have helped me every single day and hope you come out and help me tomorrow (when playing the final),” he told the audience on the Centre Court to a huge roar.

“I am disappointed for the crowd … but don’t want to get too emotional. I don’t think of it as a bad thing,” Somdev said later.

“I want to put this behind me, I want to forget about how I got there. What is important for me now is to focus on the right things. Cilic is tough to handle anyway.”

It will be the first time Somdev is playing 20-year-old Cilic who has risen to become the numero uno Croat with a ranking of 22 at the end of 2008.

“I know it’s going to be tough. He is a seasoned pro and has been fantastic this week. I want to be solid on the baseline and probably attack a little more than I normally do,” Somdev said of his gameplan for Sunday’s title contest.

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