'If I keep criticising AITA, I won't get a call from them. I am still weighing my options. I have done a lot of good things, the work ethics, I have a lot to offer'
Launching a scathing attack on the All India Tennis Association (AITA), the just-retired Somdev Devvarman said the federation was not interested in creating a good system to help players and advised talented kids to go abroad for training.
Addressing the media on the sidelines of Chennai Open on Monday, Somdev made his remarks when asked if he felt let down by AITA.
"I never expected from them, so there was no question of being let down. They were not interested in helping, in creating a culture and system and I realised that pretty quick. I was called for Davis Cup in 2007 and was stranded at the airport and then I realised they were a bunch of...," Somdev, who had also led a players’ revolt, said.
"My coach advised me to keep those people aside and don't blame anyone else. I did not want to rely on the unreliable."
He made these comments moments after saying that he won't criticise AITA more since he won't get any assignment from them if he keeps doing that.
But he asserted that the kind of game he played and the experience he has, he can make a difference to Indian tennis.
"If I keep criticising AITA, I won't get a call from them. I am still weighing my options. I have done a lot of good things, the work ethics, I have a lot to offer," Somdev said.
"There was criticism about my game style but not one can criticise the way I fought on the courts."
He also had a suggestion for young players, who aspire to make it big and eulogised the college tennis in US, where he won two NCAA titles and earned a degree as well.
"The work culture is very nice. You stay away from distractions especially when you care an Indian kid and you are good, it's good to not be here," he said.
Elaborating, he added, "The coaching and professionalism, infrastructure, expertise... I think people over there have a better sense of really how to develop players, versus over here. That's a nice culture for a kid to really experience for 1-2 years. Unless the person has shown tremendous potential at a young age. Yuki, for example, was world number 1. It doesn't make sense for him to go to college but for others it makes sense if you haven't broken through at a young age.
"Keep in mind that from India we value education, give kids a chance to have a back up plan. Say a kid is injured and done with his career at 20-21, it's a tough spot to be in. The college option ensures he has a degree and if things go wrong you can always fall back. That's a nice balance to have with social life and all, it helps. It's a nice system."
Asked if he considered playing doubles to prolong his career, Somdev said: "Never considered it an option for me. It never crossed my mind. The goal was to play in the singles and be in top-100. To prolong my career and play doubles, it did not make sense to me. Singles is exciting."
Somdev said he was largely happy with how his career shaped up.
"Maybe If I had done a few things differently early in my career... It's easy to say things in hindsight. Everyone makes mistakes. I made better decisions. Who knows if I had not had that (shoulder) injury in 2011 what I would have accomplished," he said.
Image: Somdev Devvarman
Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images