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February 22, 2011

Somdev Devvarman


R. FEDERER/S. Devvarman
6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Why don't you start with your thoughts on the match.
SOMDEV DEVVARMAN: Yeah, I felt like obviously Roger is my idol, one of the greatest players ever. But I think as I was just saying, I think he serves really well. I think it's very underrated how good his serve is. You know, because does that, I feel like he puts a lot pressure on you when you're serving.
It's not like he has too many weaknesses to exploit, so when he feels like he's on a roll, it's really tough to stop him.

Q. Was there anything about playing him that was different from how you always imagined it would be to play him?
SOMDEV DEVVARMAN: I mean, sometimes, yes and no. But I really didn't think -- I mean, his serve is absolutely unbelievable. I think his groundstrokes, I mean all of us have seen magic from that, but his serve is unbelievable.
Once he's ahead, it's so hard to play against him because he really has the freedom to play his shots and go after it. It's definitely not easy, you know, but it was a good experience for me.

Q. What's the learning you take away from playing your idol?
SOMDEV DEVVARMAN: I mean, it's just how calm and composed and how focused he is on the job at hand. You know, I think he does a fantastic job of that.
You know, I think it's probably his first match after Australia, and, you know, I'm sure he's worked hard to come out here. There's a lot of distractions for a guy at his caliber. When he's out there the court, you just puts ever thing aside, goes out there, plays his game, and shows a lot of respect for the game, for the people around, for the opponent, for everyone.
So it's really nice to see the greatest player of all-time being like that. I think I can definitely take something away.

Q. Generally when Roger plays here, almost everybody supports him. But here we saw the crowd largely in your favor. That must be kind of different as well.
SOMDEV DEVVARMAN: Yeah, it definitely feels nice. Like I said, there's a lot of Indian support in Dubai as well. I think more than 50% of the population is Indian in Dubai. I think that's one of the cool stats I looked up this week. (Laughter.)
But, yeah, unfortunately I couldn't play Roger in later rounds, although I don't know if it would have really made a difference. Usually having a win under your belt feels a lot better than just going out. But I'm sure it's the same for him as well.
He's been in the situation. He's a great champion and he's won this tournament a few times. I'm fortunate to have played him. I gave it my best effort. Unfortunately, I fell short today.

Q. What was your game plan at this start of the match?
SOMDEV DEVVARMAN: Well, you know, I knew he served really well, so I was trying to stay a little aggressive on the return. He didn't really give me too many second serves in the first set. I think I did well to hold my own. Just a couple mistakes.
You know, my game plan was to keep him back, not let him really attack the ball too much. It's really hard to do because he plays tennis on his terms, and he does pretty much what he wants to out there. (Laughter.) He makes the game look a lot easier than it is, trust me.

Q. What is it about that serve?
SOMDEV DEVVARMAN: It's so hard to read, you know. It's not about the pace. I think I played guys that hit it a little bit harder, but it's really tough to read. He really focuses on hitting his spots right. I think once he does that, it's tough.

Q. There are not so many Asian men's players on the tour. What do you think the key points are for an Asian men's player to develop and be a player on the tour level?
SOMDEV DEVVARMAN: Actually, I mean, I think the last ten years this is the probably the most Asian players we've in in the top 100. I feel like there are six or seven. There's three guys from Kazakhstan, Lu, myself, Nishikori, Istomin. There's quite a few guys out there.
So obviously it would be nicer to see more out there, but I think the key thing is keep working on the game, keep working hard, keeping sincere with what you do. Sooner or later I feel like everything will come together.
Obviously one of the things that Asian players lack more than the rest of world is genetically we're not as strong and we're not as gifted as players from Europe or America.
But, you know, it's just one of those things we have to deal with and try and work on it and get bigger and stronger and better.

Q. If you were playing against somebody like Novak instead of somebody who was your idol, how different would that match have been for you?
SOMDEV DEVVARMAN: I don't know. (Smiling.) Novak is pretty damn good. He just won the Australian Open. I'm not sure if you were paying attention. He did that pretty easily. He was playing unbelievable tennis. So, I mean, you never know. Novak is out there winning matches 3-3 against a guy ranked higher than me, too.
When you play against the top guys, top 5, top 10, I feel like the guys are don't give you much. You have to really go out there, and every point you win, every game you win, you really earn it; you really work for it.
So I don't think it would have been any different. I would have just gone out there, had to fight really hard, and try and do my best to win.

End of FastScripts

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