Somdev Devvarman had more than one reason to feel elated last month.
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The 22-year-old Tripura-born Indian graduated from the University of Virginia in the last week of May. More importantly, he concluded his collegiate career May 26 by winning his second consecutive NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Singles Championship.
With the victory, Devvarman, the youngest son of Ranjana and Pravanjan Devvarman, became the 13th player in the tournament's 124-year history to win consecutive titles, and only the fourth to do so in the past 50 years. And, of course, the first Indian.
"I really worked hard to win both of them and I am very happy to have won both this year and last year," Somdev, who was honored by India Abroad, the Indian-American weekly newspaper which rediff.com owns in North America, in March with its Young Achiever Award, told this correspondent over the telephone, in between taking congratulatory calls and a dinner engagement.
"I just feel I am playing better tennis now than I was playing a year ago."
Text: Suman Guha Mozumder | Photographs: Paresh Gandhi