AITA nominates Somdev for Khel Ratna award
New Delhi: Somdev Devvarman might have led a players' rebellion against the national tennis federation but All India Tennis Association has recommended his name for the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award (India's highest honour given for achievement in sports) for the year 2013.
Somdev has achieved some great results on the ATP tour as well as in the multi-discipline games for India after turning a pro. He won the singles gold in 2010 Commonwealth Games and gold in both singles and doubles in the Guangzhou Asian Games the same year.
Early this year, through a rebellion he forced AITA to improve playing conditions with regard to the Davis Cup.
He also formed a players association (ITPA) along with veterans Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. His best result on the Tour remains the final appearance in the 2009 Chennai Open.
He reached a career-high rank of 62 in July 2011 but a shoulder injury coupled with poor form led to a slide in the ranking table. He was out of action for about eight months after undergoing a shoulder surgery last January.
Apart from Somdev, the AITA has recommended the name of yesteryears' star Vijay Amritraj for the Dhyan Chand Award.
Vijay, along with his brother, had reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1976.
Current Davis Cup coach Zeeshan Ali has been recommended for Arjuna Award ( India's second highest honour given for achievement in sports) along with veteran player Rushmi Chakravarthi.
Nandan Bal, whom Zeeshan replaced as Davis Cup coach, has been recommended for the Dronacharya Award.