Leander Paes is the friend who you want to tear apart and kill every day: Somdev
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Having started the year outside of the 700s if the world rankings, Somdev Devvarman says he has had the ideal start to the season, beating four top-100 players and jumping to 200. But with his protected ranking no longer available, he has to start his top-50 campaign from scratch. With his schedule, he won't find it easy to find time for the Indian Tennis Players' Association, the player body he started, but Devvarman says he enjoys the challenge and that it helps to have Paes and Bhupathi on the same page as him. Excerpts:
Your serve has become sharper than it was even before your injury layoff. You are hitting the ball deeper and getting results against top-100 guys. What are the things you have worked on?
I spent 5-6 hard months with my coach (Scott McCain) just focusing on the serve. We worked on my kick serve, flat serve, on my motion, toss. The idea is not to create a new way to serve but just be consistent with my motion. That's what the top players do, serve every ball with the exact same routine. I think I'm finding my spots better now. I can't change my basic game. I'll always be a counter-puncher but since I'm obviously aging as you can tell (laughs), I need to find ways to be more efficient. So I'm taking returns earlier, evolving my footwork, standing a few feet in to help the attack. I'm 200 and something and my protected ranking has run out. I have to start where I left four years ago but working hard has never been a problem.
You have a huge task ahead of you to get back into the top-100 and you have taken on more work by starting the Indian Tennis Players' Association. What prompted you to do that?
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