Tennis

Published: Thursday September 4, 2014 MYT 1:18:55 AM
Updated: Thursday September 4, 2014 MYT 1:19:01 AM

India's Devvarman not to defend Asian Games tennis gold

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India's top singles player Somdev Devvarman has opted not to defend his tennis gold medals at this month's Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, as he wants to concentrate playing on the ATP Tour after sliding down the rankings.

Devvarman, who won singles and men's doubles gold at the 2010 Guangzhou Games in China, has slipped to 143 in the rankings after a spate of poor results and wants to improve his position by playing on the circuit.

"It didn't make sense for my professional career, to step away from the circuit and play (in the Games)," Devvarman said in a statement. "I have had a tough year dealing with a few injuries unfortunately and my ranking has dropped due to that.

"I am starting to feel good finally and look to break into the top 100 again by the end of this year.

"Stepping away for the Asian Games unfortunately was not going to be a positive impact in my aim to break into the top 100."

Seven gold medals will be up for grabs in tennis competitions to be held from Sept. 20-30 at the Sipjeong Stadium during the Incheon Games.

The 29-year-old Devvarman, who rose to a career-best 62 in singles in July 2011, will lead India's challenge against Serbia in the Davis Cup World Group play-off in Bangalore from Sept. 12-14.

"All India Tennis Association was informed about my decision to opt out of the Asian Games and continue on the tour during Wimbledon this year," he added.

"They were aware of this decision and yet chose to have me on the team."

The sport's governing body in the country, however, did not seem pleased with Devvarman's choice.

"It is very unfortunate for us. We requested him to play at least the team events which will be only for four days but he's adamant," AITA general secretary Bharat Oza told Reuters.

"He said he will miss three tournaments on the professional circuit if he plays the Asian Games. We can't force him."

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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