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Feb. 14, 2007

By David Vitto caught up with juniors Somdev Devvarman (Chennai, India) and Treat Huey (Alexandria, Va.), the No. 7 doubles team in the country, as they prepare for the National Team Indoor Championships this weekend.

What have been the challenges this team has faced so far this season?

TH: The toughest thing that this years team has had to deal with has been getting to know each other I think. There are so many new guys on the team that the first couple of weeks were really important for us and I think we all did a great job and really came together.

SD: Almost every team we have played so far has been ranked. That’s a challenge to begin with and it’s tougher when you’re playing top 25 teams regularly. That’s the biggest thing and we’ve done well to stay undefeated so far.

What is the team’s mindset heading into National Indoors?

TH: The team is very excited for this weekend and I feel like we are ready to do very well. We feel as though we can win the tournament and we are looking forward to going to Chicago and showing the rest of the country how good we really are.

SD: We obviously feel good about ourselves but we all know that this is going to be our first big test. Saying that, we all also know that we can compete with anyone and have the ability to beat anyone. We have as good a shot as anyone to win the tournament.

How has the fan base for this team improved during your time at Virginia?

TH: Over the last two years, the team’s fan base has grown so much and we all really appreciate it. Our home matches both at the Boyd Tinsley Courts and at Snyder have grown in popularity and there are a lot more people that come out to the matches compared to when I was a 1st year.

SD: Its unbelievable but it seems like more people have started coming to matches every year. The support is great and it really helps the players and coaches look forward to home matches more. The thing thats really exciting is that we have also started having people follow away matches and occasionally make the drive to watch us sometimes which means a lot to the team.

How much of a home court advantage does the Boyd Tinsely Courts provide this team? How do you guys feed off of that?

TH: Playing at home has become a great advantage for our team because of the great fan base we now have. We’ve had crowds over 600 people all the time and that gives the courts such a great energy and we all feed off of that and it helps a great deal. Just last week against Michigan the crowd and the band were great and especially helped us win the doubles point.

SD: Its unbelievable. I talked to other teams about it and they don’t seem to have such an advantage as we do. I mean its great. Plus the inclusion of the marching band for a couple games a year is just an amazing environment to be around.

How has this team changed from the fall into the New Year?

TH: Although we’ve gotten two new players this spring, the team has not changed that much at all. Houston and Ted fit in with the team great.

SD: We’re just more prepared for every match. In the fall you see guys working on their own thing and being a little more separate but now the teams one group, which is great. It helps our chemistry on the court and because we are so close to each other we can feed off each other’s energy when we need to while performing. We all look out for the benefit of the whole team, which makes a big difference.

Who are your top three favorite athletes of all time and why?

TH: Michael Jordan, Pete Sampras, and Lance Armstrong because they all dominated their sport and were great men as well. They all have done so much for their sport and I have looked up to all three of them my entire life.

SD: Definitely Roger Federer. He has just taken tennis to a whole new level and the way he represents the sport is amazing. The other two are close but I’ll have to go with Jordan because he’s such a great clutch athlete and Ronaldinho because he’s doing something I would love to be able to do.

If you could play any other sport besides tennis, what would it be and why?

TH: I would play basketball because I grew up playing both basketball and tennis. I played a lot more basketball than tennis when I was a kid but then later on was far better at tennis and decided to just play tennis.

SD: Definitely soccer without a question. I have always loved playing since I was a kid but apparently I was better at tennis so I stuck to it.

How has this year been different for the two of you, being counted on as leaders and captains?

TH: I have learned a lot the last two years as one of the few underclassmen and this year I have tried to lead the team by being a good example and helping the younger guys out in anyway I can. There is more pressure being counted on as a leader and captain and I feel that I have worked with the coaches and the rest of the team and done a good job.

SD: It has been different no doubt but nothing too much has changed. We still behave the same as we always did but now we know that we have to be examples and show the guys on the team how to represent and also how to lead a team. It’s a cool responsibility to have when you know that people look at you and how you do things. It’s just an honor. We try and help the younger guys by not letting them make the same mistakes as we did as freshmen and we try and learn from our leaders from the past years. But saying that, we don’t do anything too special. We’re still one of the guys and plan on being that way.

What are your goals for the rest of the year?

TH: I feel this team can beat any team in the country and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season. I don’t want to set any goals but I feel if we do all that we can, we’ve got a great shot at winning the national championship.

SD: I haven’t really set anything special for that. I would really like it for our team to be dominant in the ACC and Nationally but I don’t want to add pressure on the results. I feel like if we continue doing what we have for the past month we are moving forward and that is what’s important for our team. Like coach says I feel like we need to focus more on the process than on the results.

What advice would you give to a younger tennis player who wants to play collegiate tennis?

TH: Younger players should play and compete a lot because growing playing tennis is tough and to get better a lot of practice and playing tournaments are needed. The most important thing is that they enjoy playing and want to continue to play at the collegiate level. College tennis is far different than junior and professional tennis because of the team atmosphere and this makes it a lot more fun and exciting.

SD: It’s an opportunity of a lifetime and if you find the right place, it’s going to be an amazing four years. I would advise players to get a degree while playing tennis in college rather than going pro midway. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.

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