Agartala: Crackers were burst, people danced on the streets and boxes of sweets were passed around - it was celebration time in Agartala on Monday as residents cheered tennis sensation and local boy Somdev Devvarman's victory in South Africa that took India to Davis Cup world group for the first time in 11 years.
Sports lovers, cutting across age, rejoiced at Somdev's sensational win over South African Rik De Voest in the reverse singles play-off in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Somdev's father, a retired income tax commissioner Pravanjan Devvarman, said, "We are very proud of him. He put up a very good show against Rik De Voest."
"Somdev gave his career's finest presentation in the contest and we really expect that he would play some good tennis in the future," said Pravanjan.
Somdev's relatives termed his victory as "historic" for Indian tennis.
"We are proud of him and we are certain he will do better in the coming days," said Somdev's uncle Dayamay Debbarman.
Somdev visited his home in Agartala two months back and was given a reception by the Tripura Tennis Association.
"Somdev's success proves beyond doubt that there is no dearth of talent in the North-East and that all these bright youngsters need a platform or an opening to prove their capability and ability," said Tripura Sports Council Secretary, Kamal Saha.
"With Somdev's performance, now the world would know better about the North-East, where despite no scope for developing tennis, there are capable players in the region," he added
Somdev belongs to Tripura's royal family. He is the grandson of Tripura's late royal scion Bikramendra Kishore Debbarman, popularly known as Bidurkarta.
Tripura Tennis Association Secretary Sujit Roy said, "Somdev's father Pravanjan excelled in table tennis and cricket during his student life."
"We are really thrilled by Somdev's performance and energy. This boy, who descended from Tripura's tribal nobility, will earn much credit for India in future in the field of sports," Roy said.
"After Somdev came second at the Chennai Open in January this year, the Tennis Federation of India decided to develop a tennis court in Agartala for him at a cost of Rs 200,000."
Tripura Tennis Association has requested the Tripura government to provide land for the proposed tennis court.