Chennai: The ATP Aircel Chennai Open commencing here Jan 3 will serve as a stepping stone for Indian Davis Cupper Somdev Devvarman, ranked 84, as he begins the long haul to break into top-50 of the tennis rankings and also qualify for the London Olympics.

Having enjoyed a middling to a good 2011 season that saw him reach the final at Johannesburg, Devvarman acknowledged that the path to the Olympics is all about consistency.

"The focus is definitely on the Olympics, I will just work at improving my game further, and breaking into the (world's) top-50 would be nice," said Devvarman.

Devvarman began the season ranked 108, moved up to a career-best of 63 before sliding to 84, but hoped that he would have a better run in the New Year.

Reviewing the season, the 26-year old said: "The sudden rise was due to good matches and favourable outcomes and the sudden slump due to (shoulder) injury.

"Reaching the finals of the Tour event in Johannesburg is definitely up there. Besides that, I also got to play the likes of (Roger) Federer, Rafa (Nadal) on the big stage and also got some good wins against players like Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and (Janko) Tipsarevic.

"I think, on a given day, when I am playing my best tennis I could beat any player. But to stay up there, win a Grand Slam, you have to play that level consistently day-in and day-out.

"Consistency is the key. When you meet top ranked players, which you often do in Tour events, they can easily expose your weaknesses. You have to stay on top of your game at all times."

His best run in the Chennai Open was in 2009 when he reached the final, but then lost in the second round in 2010 and first round in 2011.

"I certainly hope to do well and go one better than 2009," Devvarman said.

"I love playing in Chennai. The atmosphere is great, the crowd is supportive, it is just awesome," said Arjuna Awardee.

On the main draw of the 2012 event, Devvarman said: "It's a very strong field. At this level it is rare to get easy wins."

(Agencies)