July 6, 2012
It's been a long eight months but Somdev Devvarman is hoping there's a golden light at the end of the tunnel.
The former Cavalier tennis great is battling back from a debilitating shoulder injury and will represent his homeland of India in the men's tennis singles tournament at the Olympic Games in London.
"I remember as a kid watching the Opening Ceremonies and people standing up and getting medals for their countries. So yes, this really is a dream come true."
"It's such an honor. I think my family and friends are proud, a few of them are going to come out (to London) to support me. That means a lot."
Devvarman is counting on his international experience to help him in the Games but realizes the Olympics is something unlike he's ever been involved with.
"I've been on tour for four years now, so I've had quite a lot of experience playing for my country, playing big matches against pretty much everyone who's going to be in the Olympics for tennis so it's going to be fun to be out there again and compete with everyone for the gold."
"I've played Davis Cup and Asian Games and represented India but I think the Olympics is the pinnacle and just a huge honor."
Devvarmna knows he'll have his work cut out for him. The men's singles field is expected to include the top players on tour, including Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.
"It's going to be a very tough field with Federer, Nadal, Djokovic. I think every top player in the world is going to be out there. Especially since we play at Wimbledon which is the most prestigious place for us to play. It's going to be a lot of fun and some really good tennis being played."
A shoulder injury forced Devvarman under the knife in January but he says he's ready to go.
"Yeah I think I feel good. I had shoulder surgery earlier at the start of the year and I really feel good about that right now. My doctors are very optimistic that I'll be 100 percent ready to play by then. I'm practicing as hard as I can right now and there's no real pain. It's just been progress the last few months which is great."
While he's looking forward to competing against the world's best, Devvarman is also eager to enjoy the official start of the Games, the Opening Ceremony.
"The Opening Ceremony is something that's pretty special to any athlete, to be able to walk and represent their country, wave hi back to their friends and family all over the world.
The two-time NCAA champion is revered by UVa fans and former teammates alike. Devvarman says he hasn't wanted for encouragement from the Wahoo faithful.
"It's a lot of support and a lot of encouragement always. We're still a very close family, even though I graduated. They're all very happy for me. I think a couple of them might come out to see me. I will do my best and hope I can make everyone proud."