‘Speed is Somdev’s biggest weapon’

Jacek Wolicki,Somdev Devvarman’s coach,wasn’t the teacher for the first few days following their arrival in Chennai...

Written by Shreya Chakravertty | Chennai | Published:January 10, 2009 12:27 am

Jacek Wolicki,Somdev Devvarman’s coach,wasn’t the teacher for the first few days following their arrival in Chennai. “Somdev was quite the tour guide,showing me around and telling me about the city. We went to the beach,and a couple of other places where he grew up,” says Wolicki,who has plenty of reasons other than the sights around the city to make this a memorable visit.

“What sets Somdev apart is his immense mental strength and his belief in never giving up. That is his main asset. His parents have to be commended for bringing him up so well,” says Wolicki,who was already with Mamba International,the management group which looks after the Indian,when Somdev came on board.

Of Polish descent,Wolicki moved to Canada before he began playing tennis,and when a back injury put paid to his hopes of continuing,he decided to take up coaching. “The first time I saw Somdev was in 2004-05 when I was assistant coach at the University of Virginia. Even then,off the court,he had great character. College has prepared him beautifully,” adds the 29-year-old.

Playing the big points well

“He’s mentally one of the strongest guys in the world,and that shows when he plays the big points. He can analyse games between points,and it’s fun to watch him when he’s in a tough situation. It was easier when I was playing,” laughs Wolicki.

Strength and conditioning coach Milos Galecic has been with Somdev even when Wolicki hasn’t been able to make it,and is the man behind the incredible levels of fitness the 23-year-old has shown out on court. “People say that Somdev doesn’t have any one particular shot as weapon,but I beg to differ. A groundstroke is considered a weapon,but in Somdev’s case,it’s his speed. His serve too is a big part of his game,” says the coach.

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