India's top tennis player, Somdev Devvarman carried India to the elite World Group for the first time in 11 years with a sensational 4-6, 6-7(3), 7-6(5), 6-2, 6-4 win over South Africa's Rik De Voest in the first reverse singles of play-off at the Ellis Park Indoor Arena in Johannesburg on Sunday. India, who last played in the World Group finals in 1998, needed to win just one reverse singles Sunday to wrap up the tie in their favour. India will play among the top 16 nations of the World Group. CNN-IBN clinched an exclusive interview with Somdev Devvarman after the win at Johannesburg.
Somdev said the team backed him till the end and it helped him to claw his way back into the match.
Somdev: You know, it is a very humbling feeling because you see, India has had a really solid tradition in Tennis. So just to have my country and my team into the World group is a really great feeling.
CNN-IBN: Is this the biggest or even the most satisfying win of your career so far?
Somdev: Yes, it is. It is very satisfying and obviously one of the biggest wins of my life.I have not had much time to think about it but coming down to two sets and have a break in the third; really fighting hard and getting a lot of motivation from the bench was great. Mahesh and Misra (Indian captain S.P Misra), you know both these guys were just awesome for me. I also have to give credit to my fitness coach because obviously fitness is a great thing for me today and it is good to see all the hard work producing results.
CNN-IBN: You were barely twelve when India last played the world group in 1998. How does it feel today that you played for your country and did the job?
Somdev: It is a very weird feeling, you know beacuse you only dream about these things. But I am very fortunate that a lot of people helped me along the way. I would like to thank them. I am really looking forward to playing the world group, hoping we get a good match and get a win for India in the world group.
CNN-IBN: Perhaps this is the first match in 19 years that Lee and Hesh have not exactly fired and yet we won a tie for the first time.
Somdev: A lot of credit has to go to the way Rohan played on Friday. He gave us such an opportunity to be up to it. There was such a lot of pressure on them in the doubles and the singles on Sunday and after the singles on weekend. He has been very helpful. He has been giving me some tips on how to handle the situations. Also, having Hesh on the bench cheering me on every single point is very motivating for a guy like me to see players like Lee and Hesh who have also supported me. So, you know even if they did not really win a match for us, the truth is that they always have a big influence on us.