Ramesh Krishnan thread

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Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:09 am

Thanks for that nice posting Adnan. You will notice that we have a Vijay Amritraj thread as well. And we have a "Golden Stars of Indian tennis" thread too. Between those two, we have talked at some length about the matches you recall so well. In particular, I was at the DLTA grass courts that wonderful March day in 1987 when Vijay Amritraj pulled off that magnificent win over then world #16 Martin Jaite after being 2 sets and several match-points down in the third set. He needed to fight the sluggishness in his ageing legs, but his terrific grass court abilities began to tell as the crowd pumped adrenalin into him and he played a breathtaking drop shot to stave off the first match-point and begin his astonishing fightback. Oh yes, that was an unforgettable match!

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Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby jaydeep » Mon Apr 11, 2005 4:46 am

Thanks Adnan for reminding some superb unforgetable matches of our golden era.

Jaydeep.

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Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Thu Aug 04, 2005 11:25 am

On this day, when Sania Mirza's victory over Nadia Petrova in easy straight sets has ensured that she makes the top-50 in the world next week, my mind takes me back to the last time we had a player in the top-50 in singles. It was March 1989, and Ramesh Krishnan (IND, 49) beat Johan Kriek (RSA, 36) in three tie-breaks in the first round at Key Biscayne, Fl, before losing in the third round to Argentine Eduardo Bengoechea. I used to love looking at the lists of the world's top-50 that used to be published almost every month (or after key events like a Slam) in most US newspapers in those days. As I was finishing my Master's degrees at UPenn, Ramesh slipped off those monthly lists for the first time. But he had occupied them for almost a decade, bringing enormous joy to this and other Indian tennis fans...

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Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby punarayan » Thu Aug 04, 2005 9:24 pm

PK Basu, Please talk about Ramesh more often. He is my Tennis God! I'm too old to adopt any of the new styles and take comfort in the style played by Ramesh. It was only from watching Ramesh play that I realized one did not have to hit top spin passing shots. A well executed slice and placement does wonders at the club level - and efficient too. In my twenties and thirties I went to great lenghts to watch him play, especially around NY. Most of the time I saw him, he would lose a close match, but it was of no consequence to me, just to see him time and stroke that ball. Well Sania has skill with the racket. Sorry for the emoting, but this is a true temmis lover's forum. Where else does one go to express the joy of watching him play.

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Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby BSharma » Fri Aug 05, 2005 1:47 am

I long for the days when players had a game like Ramanathan and Ramesh Krishnan. It was like watching ballet or artistry in motion - smooth like silk. I had the pleasure of watching both father and son live in India and USA, and it was a delight to see them in action.

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Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Fri Aug 05, 2005 3:00 am

punarayan and I have very similar memories of Ramesh. He was the last Indian singles player in the top-50, and he stayed around # 25-35 for at least 7 years. His sheer artistry made him a unique phenomenon on the tour, loved by many and loathed by very few (like McEnroe!). Ramesh's anticipation and reflexes were amazing, and his backhand was probably the best in the game at the time. Unfortunately, his serve was a shocker -- with apparently no effort to give it much pace or spin. Because his serve was no weapon, Ramesh needed to concentrate incredibly hard, but his touch artistry ensured that he was competitive against everyone, and always capable of winning against the best. When he took a set off McEnroe in the QF at the 1981 US Open, Johnnie Mack used classic intimidatory tactics, saying "the guy is serving at 10mph", etc., and that probably cost Ramesh his concentration. But he mastered some of his other contemporaries on the tour, especially Mats Wilander -- against whom he played some classic matches that, according to Richard Evans, always "emptied the locker-rooms" as players came out to watch the exquisite artistry on display.

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Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby Rajiv » Fri Aug 05, 2005 10:21 am

the comment made by jp about rk serve was during the period when jp was at his arrogant best and totally conceited
ironically a good decade later in 1990 second round match at queen which jp won in 3 sets against rk ,and in the press conference which followed after the match a more mellowed and mature jp eulogised rk in glowing terms and quoted this style of play is on its last legs and will be extinct soon and whoever has seen it has been fortunate as this will never happen again
truly a surgeon aptly named by fellow pros.
my best memories of him when as a youngster fololwed all the dc matches in the country and was fortunate to watch the total anhilation of tomas smid,jakob hlasek,jermy bates,amos mansdorf,shlomo glickstien,claudio panata, cancelloti,martin jaite,chesnekov and many more at the hands of rk and mind you most of the above names were either top 10 or top 50 players on the circuit

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Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Fri Aug 05, 2005 11:31 am

Actually, even on that occasion, McEnroe didn't beat Ramesh in straight sets. He lost the first set 4-6 before winning the next two. Ramesh lost all 10 matches he played against McEnroe, but all but one of those matches were pretty close. At the 1981 US Open, the score was McEnroe d. Krishnan 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 6-2. And of course, the abuse flowed in the second set. Thanks for that nice anecdote from Queen's Club 1990, Rajiv; in that event, Ramesh beat Malivai Washington in the first round before losing 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to John McEnroe.

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Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Sat Mar 25, 2006 4:36 pm

Here is a survey of the ATP tour titles that Ramesh Krishnan won. His first two titles were on clay in Manila (1981) -- where he beat Drew Gitlin (who had beaten Brad Gilbert) in the QF and won the final in straight sets -- and in the Stuttgart Outdoor (1982), where he beat top-seeded Sandy Mayer (then in the top-10 in the world) in the final in four sets.  
Ramesh's next title was on hard courts at Metz, France in 1984, where he beat Tim Mayotte (61 62) in the first round, Miloslav Mecir in the SF and Jan Gunnarson in the final. Ramesh dropped just one set (to French Davis Cupper Pascal Portes) on way to the title.
His next two titles came in October 1986, at the Tokyo Outdoor (where he beat Johan Carlsson 63 61 in the final, having again dropped just one set in the tournament to Jonathan Canter in the QF; Carlsson made the final by beating Jimmy Arias in the QF) and at Hong Kong, where Ramesh beat Jimmy Connors in the QF, Pat Cash in the SF and Andres Gomes (7-6 6-0 7-5 ) in the final. (In 1986, Ramesh also beat one Andre Agassi 62 63 in the final of the Schenectady Challenger; of course that doesn't count among his tour titles...but a nice scalp!).
In 1988, Ramesh won the title at Wellington (NZ) in the first week of the year (beating Andrei Chesnokov in the final) and was runner-up at Auckland in the next week's tournament (which meant that he was #1 in the equivalent of the Champions Race at the end of the second week of the year), but lost in R3 of the Australian Open (to Masur, who he had beaten a few months earlier in the crunch match of the Davis Cup SF; later in the year, he beat Masur again at Queen's Club). That year, Ramesh also made the final of tour events at Bristol (grass) and Rye Brook, NY (hard courts).  
In 1989, Ramesh won the title at Auckland, beating Amos Mansdorf in the final (having beaten Grabb and Reneburg in the QF and SF respectively). The following week he stunned world #1 (and reigning AO, FO and USO champion) Mats Wilander in R2 of the Australian Open, but disappointingly lost in R3 in a close 4-setter to Leonardo Lavalle (the previous year's Wimbledon junior champ) in R3.
Ramesh's last tour title came at the Schenectady Grand Prix in 1990, where he beat NZ's Evernden in the final, after beating #17 Martin Jaite in the SF (Jaite must have had nightmares about Indians; he beat Ramesh in a 5-setter in the first match of the 1987 Davis Cup match in Delhi, then lost to Vijay in the fourth match; subsequently, he lost 3 times to Ramesh on tour and never beat him, the other two losses coming at Key Biscayne in 1988 and 1992).
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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Wed Feb 14, 2007 3:15 pm

As a new cohort of young Indian men seek to make it in pro tennis, it is always instructive to look back on what the last top-50 male player from India did. Ramesh Krishnan talks in his autobiography about the cramped room in a Tokyo hotel, and butterflies in his stomach overnight as he thought of his first ATP tour match against Butch Walts (who had beaten McEnroe a few weeks earlier) in October 1978, when RK2 was 17 years and 3 months old. Ramesh found himself up 7-5, 5-3 when he suddenly tightened and went on to lose in three close sets. But he recovered soon afterwards to make the SF in Hong Kong (beating Australia's Geoff Masters in the QF), beat Butch Walts in straight sets on clay in Manila (where he was to win his first pro title three years later), then made the QF of the Indian Open in Calcutta, and qualified into the Australian Open main draw at the end of the year.

Perhaps even more impressively, Ramesh beat Onny Parun (the New Zealander who had tormented us in the Davis Cup through the 1970s) at Auckland in January 1979. That year, Ramesh went on to win the Wimbledon junior title and reach the final of the US Open junior singles, but he also made it to the second round of the main draw at the French Open, and qualified into Wimbledon and the US Open (where he beat Phil Dent in straight sets in the first round, before losing to Kriek; I vividly remember Ramesh turning the tables on Kriek in R3 of the 1987 US Open though!). Having just turned 19 in June 1980, Ramesh made the third round at Wimbledon (beating Bill Scanlon and the British hope, Mark Cox, in the second round before losing to the Hungarian Balazc Taroczy), R2 at the US Open, and SFs in Taipei (where he beat former US Open finalist Tom Okker and Pat Dupre before losing to twice AO winner Brian Teacher) and Bangkok (where he beat Dick Stockton before losing to Vijay, against whom he had a 2-2 pro career record). By the end of the year, he was ranked 53 in the world.

Ramesh talks about going to Hopman's academy in 1981 with one main purpose: to improve his serve (especially its speed). He worked very hard at this, but too hard for his own good! He severely hurt his stomach muscles, and didn't win a match on tour between April and August, as the injury kept hampering him. But he managed to turn it around at the Canadian Open, where he made the quarterfinal, with good wins over Sherwood Stewart in R2 and Tom Gullikson in the PQF. Then, at the age of 20, Ramesh made the quarterfinal of the US Open, beating former Wimbledon champ Stan Smith and then-world #5 Gene Mayer (in the PQF). The QF against McEnroe entered tennis folklore because of McEnroe's remark "the guy serves at 10 miles an hour and I still can't return it!" Ramesh claims he never heard the remark until told about it later. But the score at that point was Krishnan 7-6, 5-4, with Ramesh to serve for the second set. It got to 30-30, but McEnroe managed to break. Ramesh says he didn't lose too much sleep over the loss then, but now looks back at the 76 67 46 26 loss as a huge lost opportunity (that may even have enabled Borg to win a US Open!). But with the match telecast live on US television, Ramesh became something of a household name among tennis fans at the age of 20. Later that year, Ramesh made the SF in Bangkok (losing to Wilander, after beating former AO champ Mark Edmondson) and won his first title at Manila on clay. He then rushed back to Madras to take (and pass!!) his BA exams the very next day. By the end of 1981, Ramesh was thus a graduate and among the top-30 tennis players in the world!   
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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby BSharma » Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:24 pm

PKBasu wrote:. . . Ramesh Krishnan talks in his autobiography about the cramped room in a Tokyo hotel, and butterflies in his stomach overnight as he thought of his first ATP tour match against Butch Walts (who had beaten McEnroe a few weeks earlier) in October 1978, when RK2 was 17 years and 3 months old.the tables on Kriek in R3 of the 1987 US Open though!). . . Then, at the age of 20, Ramesh made the quarterfinal of the US Open, beating former Wimbledon champ Stan Smith and then-world #5 Gene Mayer (in the PQF). The QF against McEnroe entered tennis folklore because of McEnroe's remark "the guy serves at 10 miles an hour and I still can't return it!" Ramesh claims he never heard the remark until told about it later. But the score at that point was Krishnan 7-6, 5-4, with Ramesh to serve for the second set. It got to 30-30, but McEnroe managed to break. Ramesh says he didn't lose too much sleep over the loss then, but now looks back at the 76 67 46 26 loss as a huge lost opportunity (that may even have enabled Borg to win a US Open!).


Thanks PKB for revisiting the Ramesh-McEnroe match at US Open  :D.  I watched on TV every second of the match and remember vividly the comment made by McEnroe about Ramesh's serve.  I hope that the Indian junior players get a chance to read the autobiographies of famous players so see what it takes to become a champion.

I particularly enjoyed the "RK2" nickname coined by PKB.  :D

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby punarayan » Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:02 am

PK Basu,  Thanks for the post on Ramesh.  I always enjoy them immensely.  I do miss not having an Indian singles player to follow on my annual visits to the USO.  Ofcourse, the qualifiers are a close substitute.  Even the Juniors bring me to the Open.  But, those days of great anticipation to see an Indian play singles on a high level on the Tour are greatly missed by me. Sania on the womens tour definetly fits the bill, but I'd love to see another one on the men's tour.  I was at just about every match that Ramesh played at the USO and I remember being at stadium when Ramesh played McEnroe and lost in three close sets.  I even have a picture of him serving at the match - I need to dig it out to take another look!  I remember McEnroe being tied up in knots in the first set and screaming about the serve being only "5 miles an hour".  I know this serve over time has picked up speed to reach "10 miles an hour"!  Poor Stan Smith was victimized by Ramesh's web.  I saw him against Kriek, Rostango, Leconte, Edberg and numerous others that I can't recll anymore.  But, I remeber the first time I saw him as a junior play at the USO on a court in some remote corner against some up coming American "star" and watched him calmly dissect his game without any sense of urgency.  This court craft was misunderstood by me and so I drifted away to watch some "real" tennis and after a while came back to see the so called "star" in total disarray.  I never left a Ramesh match prematurely ever again.  I also remember his last match as a qualifier against Jeff Tarango who was a boor.  His wife that same year had slapped a chair umpire at the French Open for missed call against her husband!  I was hoping for Ramesh would teach this guy alesson, but he was down by two sets quickly and Tarango was into the bullying mode and remarked aloud that this brand of tennis was not in his league.  Ramesh apparently was having some back problem and had a band around his lower back. After hearing Tarango, Ramesh took of this band in a flurish and went to work.  I never saw Ramesh play in anger, but his short were brave and the sliced passes began to work.  Ramesh was in full flight!  The match was leveled at two sets each and during the change over Ramesh stood next to Tarango and asked if the match was at a high enough level for him now!  There was only stone cold silence for the boor!  Ramesh did lose in a close fought fifth set - I suspect his back was bothering him, but still a memorable performance from Ramesh and was gracious enough to give my son an autogragh even though it must have been very difficult after a loss like that.
Is there a new book about Ramesh, since I only have read the called "A touch of tennis".  Please let me know if there is another book out.  Sorry for the long post, but it feels nice to let other like minded people now about the things that thrill you.

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby Insider » Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:37 am

There was also the time Tarango refused to shake hands with Leander after being hit by an overhead  :wink:

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Thu Feb 15, 2007 7:15 am

I envy you, Bhushan and punarayan, for having watched so many of Ramesh's matches. That 1981 QF was something I only read about the following day (as newspapers took a day to get to Darjeeling!) in a news-agency report that didn't forget to mention the unforgettable jibe from McEnroe.

Apart from the Kriek match (at the US Open 1987), I watched only 3 of Ramesh's matches live: I was in Delhi at the AITA grass courts when he beat Horacio de la Pena in the deciding rubber of the Davis Cup contest against Argentina in 1987, and then I watched Ramesh beat Jakob Hlasek (then #30 to Ramesh's 200-plus ranking, as he had semi-retired by then) at Calcutta's South Club in March 1993, and later that year I watched him in the final qualifying round at the US Open against Michael Tebbutt. Easily the most memorable was his victory over Hlasek in Calcutta: Hlasek was a good grass-court player, a former quarterfinalist at Wimbledon, world #7 in 1989 and someone who made R3 at Wimbledon in both 1992 and 1993 (so, clearly among the top-30 at the time on grass). Ramesh's artistic strokeplay enabled him to simply toy with Hlasek, and by the end of the second set Hlasek's legs appeared to be shaking when he served -- so complete was the 32 year old Ramesh Krishnan's mastery over him. The 63 64 62 thrashing that Ramesh administered to him was much worse than anything else Hlasek suffered through the year (at Wimbledon, he took a set off Becker in R3, for instance). It was a sight for sore tennis eyes.

I will say, though, that Ramesh's painfully shy manner prevented him from becoming a bigger star. After his match against Tebbutt (which turned out to be his last match at Flushing Meadows), my two boisterous friends and I -- who had been a 3-man cheering squad for him through the match (a Sikh, a Christian Pakistani and I) -- approached Ramesh hoping for an autograph and kind words, but he looked straight past us and walked away! punarayan, you were clearly much luckier!

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby BSharma » Thu Feb 15, 2007 6:54 pm

PKBasu wrote:
I will say, though, that Ramesh's painfully shy manner prevented him from becoming a bigger star. After his match against Tebbutt (which turned out to be his last match at Flushing Meadows), my two boisterous friends and I -- who had been a 3-man cheering squad for him through the match (a Sikh, a Christian Pakistani and I) -- approached Ramesh hoping for an autograph and kind words, but he looked straight past us and walked away! punarayan, you were clearly much luckier!


No doubt about it.  Ramesh played in a tournament organized by the tennis club where I play and despite my cheering from the sideline, he never looked at my direction.  Jimmy Connors used to arrange a Bank of Oklahoma Classic and would get eight ATP players to play a round robin type of tournament.  Ramesh came one year, but would not talk much with the spectators after the match.

I watched Ramanathan Krishnan several times in India at Allahabad Gymkhana Club, where I played junior tennis during summer and winter breaks, and he was a lot more engaging with the spectators.  I have autographs of Ramanathan, Jaydeep Mukherjea, Premjit Lal, Fred Stolle, Akhtar Ali, etc but not of Ramesh.


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