Somdev backs new ranking system

Last Updated 19 October 2018, 11:59 IST

Former India Davis Cup singles stalwart Somdev Devvarman on Friday backed the new ATP ranking system, saying it will be a good thing for the Indian players in the long run.

From 2020, ATP Ranking points will begin at the ATP Challenger Tour, a change that could significantly reduce the number of ATP-ranked players in the country.

"It is actually going to be very useful in the long run because nowadays, for whatever reason, kids don't believe that education can go hand in hand with sport.

"Indian children can start looking at getting scholarships abroad, going to college tennis and continuing their tennis over there. There are pros and cons of transition too," Devvarman said.

The former top-100 player was in Thane to inaugurate the Singhania Sports Academy at the Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School.

Conceding the new ranking format will hurt Indians initially, Devvarman said it will be beneficial to youngsters in the long run.

"It is going to hurt in the beginning. But towards the end, a lot of junior players, between 17-19 (years) who are taking that decision whether to turn pro immediately or to go to college for four years and then turn pro, will find it a lot simpler because nobody wants to be on the transition tour for four years.

"I think it will be a good thing for the Indian players in the long run if they treat it in a correct way," the former national number one noted.

Post these changes, the ATP Challenger Tour will undergo significant changes from next year.

Devvarman also feels that after the changes are made, a lot of people will start looking at tennis in a realistic way.

"We currently have over 50 people ranked in the ATP -- I am not sure of the number -- but overnight on January 1, it will be 10-15. There are ways of looking at it.

"One is that we don't have that many players ranked, but the whole world is going through the same thing and the entire world (is) doing it.

"Time will tell (on how it goes). We are going to start off with 750 people ranked in the ATP. The transition too, in a sense, allows a lot of people in India to look at tennis more realistically," he added.

He also felt that if the financial plans get delivered then the change in the Davis Cup format too will be beneficial for the game.

"It's highly expensive - (USD) three billion over 20 years. Obviously, if they can live up to those promises, then nothing like it.

"But in the recent history we have seen multiple leagues that have promised massive funding and have failed after two years and the owners and the investors moved on.

"I would hate to see that happen because the Davis Cup is an over-100-years-old historical tournament," he said.

"And a lot of countries have benefited from it (Davis Cup). There will be an increase in prize money, ten-fold, if not more. A lot of nations will get lots of funding as well, but it is too early to tell," he noted.

"Personally, I wasn't a big fan of changing a massive part of tennis history and Davis Cup is arguably one of the biggest tennis events in the world. But if the financial situation goes as per plan, it will be beneficial, so time will tell," he added.

(Published 19 October 2018, 11:50 IST)

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