Ramesh Krishnan thread

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Tue Feb 20, 2007 2:35 am

punarayan, this is still from "A Touch of Tennis", which I pull out to re-read occasionally. The Ramesh section of that book unfortunately is rather thin -- and he is far too modest. But there are some fascinating insights, including the fact that he only really started doing physical work -- jogging -- seriously when he was about 21! And there is the nice story about Lendl giving him some insights about how to handle Wilander (by playing to his backhand), and then using a bit of gamesmanship afterwards ("I would prefer to play you rather than him in the final..."). McEnroe says in his autobiography that Lendl completely changed the "rules" of physical exercise in tennis, and forced everyone to get much fitter by following a very aggressive training regime. 
I wish, though, that Ramesh had worked on overcoming his painful shyness, which detracted from him becoming anything like the star that Vijay became, or Sania is today. Had he been more of a star, he would probably have been more successful in helping to build up a successor or two in Indian tennis. It is only the diehard fans (like punarayan, Bhushan, etc.) who truly appreciated Ramesh's superb achievements and sublime courtcraft. 

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby punarayan » Sun Mar 04, 2007 3:52 pm

PKBasu  Thanks for posts.  You need not be envious of people like me who got to see Ramesh every year for almost 14 years.  There was no Internet those days, so I missed all the great Davis Cup goings on.  Indian tennis players seem to acheive the most in team events.  All of Ramesh's great matches occured on the other side of the world, or atleast not in the US - except Vijay beating Borg and Laver at the USO.  I could have attended these matches, but there was no TennisIndia to let me know they were on the schedule!

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Tue Mar 06, 2007 12:39 am

Actually, punarayan, I think two of Ramesh's greatest matches were at the US Open -- in 1981 against Gene Mayer (then ranked #5 in the world and at the peak of his powers) when Ramesh ran him ragged over 4 sets in the PQF, forcing Mayer to eventually retire before the start of the final set; and then against then-#6 Johan Kriek in the third round in 1987 (on the way to the QF again). I watched the latter match, albeit on a TV in west Lafayette, Indiana, where I was visiting a friend. John Newcombe was singing paeans of praise to Ramesh's backhand (saying it was the greatest since Rosewall, what a compliment from an Aussie!) but loudly lamenting "but why can't he do something about that serve?!" Ramesh of course did try seriously once early in his career to improve his serve (especially its speed), but the attempt almost ended his career. Nonetheless Ramesh's game was always poetry in motion (apart from the serve, which looked utterly perfunctory) and based on superb reflexes that required intense concentration. Perhaps the latter explains why Ramesh never responded too well to exuberant cheering from the stands.

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby punarayan » Sat Mar 10, 2007 4:41 pm

PKBasu,  You are quite correct in mentioning some of Ramesh's matches at the USO, as being some of his best.  But, I was thinking more about the matches I did not get a chance to see, like the ones at the Australian Open where I think he beat Mat Wilander who was at the top of the tennis world at that time. I was also thinking of all the great Davis Cup matches that had not chance of being televised in the US.  One is always regreting the missed events.  Never got to see Ramesh on grass at Wimbledon either on TV or in person.  Yes, he was shy, but polite.  I did attend the Kriek match and and if I remember Gene Mayer had to stop because of a back problem.  Thanks for the posts. 

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:21 pm

Yes, indeed, some of Ramesh's greatest wins were on grass -- and I missed most of those (apart from the two Davis Cup matches, over Horacio de la Pena of Argentina in Delhi 1987 and the terrific shellacking of Jakob Hlasek in Calcutta 1993). But in 1986, Ramesh beat 6th-seeded Joakim Nystrom in the third round at Wimbledon, then beat Eric Jelen of Germany in straight sets to make the QF -- where the big-serving Yugoslav, Slobodan Zivojinovic, beat him in four sets. In the lead-up to Wimbledon that year, Ramesh had beaten #13 Brad Gilbert at Queen's Club on the way to the quarterfinal (his dad, Ramanathan, of course won Queen's Club in 1959). At the US Open that year, he came perilously close to beating Edberg in the third round at the US Open -- until Edberg gained control of the net in the fifth set, to take it 6-4. Later that same year, Ramesh had the string of superb victories over 3 consecutive Slam winners -- Connors (4-6 6-3 6-4), Cash (6-4 6-2) and Andres Gomez (7-6 6-0 7-5) -- to win the Hong Kong title two weeks after his title triumph at the Tokyo Outdoor. (And in between, he beat Patrick McEnroe, Johan Carlsson and Andre Agassi in the final of the Schenectady Challenger -- and also won two Davis Cup singles rubbers against the USSR, against Andrei Chesnokov and Alexander Zverev). All in a great year's work...

I don't think anyone in India got to watch Ramesh's biggest Davis Cup win, in the deciding rubber of the 1987 Davis Cup semi-final against Australia (IN AUSTRALIA), when he beat Wally Masur 8-6, 6-4, 6-4. 

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby jaybee » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:01 pm

hi!
i´ve read some threads about ramesh krishnan...unfortunately i didn´t get to watch him play...
can anyone tell me about his playing style he prefered - was he a s&v-player or was he a groundstroker...? thanx

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:15 am

Ramesh Krishnan had a very unique style of play that is now virtually extinct on the men's tour (with Santoro possibly the closest in style to him). He had an awfully weak serve (he seemed to almost put in no effort into it), but his return game, volley, ground-strokes, and anticipation/reflexes were superb. He had perhaps the best one-handed backhand in the world in the 1980s -- John Newcombe compared it favourably with Ken Rosewall, a massive compliment. I don't think you could call his style serve-volley, since his serve was so weak, but he did follow his serve to the net often (especially on grass) and rarely got passed because of his superb reflexes and concentration. But since he needed to concentrate almost like a chess-player, his personality was rather dour and he never responded to fan support particularly well. Although a truly marvellous, smooth player to watch, Ramesh never acquired a media personality because of his dourness...

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby suresh » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:28 am

His style may be called "slow-death" -- he would lull you to sleep and beat you. Ask McEnroe! He was a finesse player and clearly the power game of today, improved racquets (that forgive mishits) has no place for Ramesh's style of play.

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby prasen9 » Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:08 am

Ramesh' returns were a delight to watch; he was a true artist on court.  There is indeed none like him today.

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby BSharma » Fri Aug 01, 2008 3:45 am

jaybee wrote:hi!
i´ve read some threads about ramesh krishnan...unfortunately i didn´t get to watch him play...
can anyone tell me about his playing style he prefered - was he a s&v-player or was he a groundstroker...? thanx


I saw Ramanathan Krishnan and Ramesh Krishnan play tennis - the former in India and the latter in USA.  Both had very similar styles - very fluid, ran on the court like a ballet star (no huffing or puffing), great anticipation, great backhand, but like Rosewell it was usually hit with a slice and not a top spin, and outstanding volleys (perhaps due to great anticipation).  Both father and son had great tennis mind and could figure out a way to win against good players. 

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby gbelday » Fri Aug 01, 2008 1:26 pm

Yeah and his down the line passing shots (backhand side) were a treat to watch.  I was a big fan of his growing up.  However, I don't think he would have had that much success (top 25) in today's brutal "power tennis" sort of a world.

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby Prashant » Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:35 pm

PKBasu wrote:He had an awfully weak serve (he seemed to almost put in no effort into it), but his return game, volley, ground-strokes, and anticipation/reflexes were superb.


Ramesh was the only professional men's tennis player I've seen who almost certainly served slower than me. Which is saying something :)

As gbelday alludes to, one of the memorable things for me was his accuracy - even with the slow pace/finesse shots, he could hit lines with deadly accuracy...

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby kujo » Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:41 pm

Prashant wrote:As gbelday alludes to, one of the memorable things for me was his accuracy - even with the slow pace/finesse shots, he could hit lines with deadly accuracy...


exactly!  Apart from a slow service and sliced backhands, his accuracy was the standout item I can remember. 
It is almost like, let me drop the ball near the net, oh so you returned that? ok let me put it to your backhand side near the baseline, oh you got that? let me approach the net and do a volley,  etc...  not much power, but a lot of variety in where the balls landed on court combined with accuracy of those shots.

Oh, one more thing, he had great reflexes and anticipation - never saw him huff and puff....
Last edited by kujo on Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby StatsRock » Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:03 pm

It's great to read posts from so many people who have attended Ramesh's matches, thanks for sharing  :D

Apart from what people have already conveyed, Ramesh was like Dravid in his peak : there was a phase between 1985-87 where he would in his own unobtrusive way, steadily move up to R3 or R4 of most Grand Slam tournaments. He would quietly push some better-ranked players out of the way but such feats were never hyped up by the press. Almost always he would lost to some top-10 or top-20 player in the 2nd phase of Grand Slams which definitely is no shame.

In the pantheon of Indian achievers, I would put him just a notch below Anand : if you consider the similarity of their first 10 years on the circuit. (Anand rose to the top echelons only in his 30s, something a tennis player cannot do)

The matches I watched on DD were:
- vs Nystrom Wimby 86 [ highlights were telecast on World of Sports a week after the event ]
- DC tie vs USSR 86
- all DC ties 87-88
- v Andres Gomez Hong Kong Open 86

In 1988 didnt take Wilander's wins at AO and FO too seriously as I thought he had a rather easy field. Being a Lendl fan, I just shrugged off Mats' victories  8-) Wasnt expecting him to beat Mecir in Wimby QF 88. Wilander met Lendl at the latter's den at Flushing Meadows in 1988 US final(Lendl a US open finalist from 1982-89) and won in 5 sets and also became World #1. That was the first time I was convinced how good he was on courts other than clay.  :roll:

We expected the usual when Ramesh was drawn to play Wilander in R2 of AO 1989. I dont recollect the exact headline in the Hindu, but there was a big action pic of Ramesh, puny and un-imposing, but with steady eyes approaching the net. :D It definitely was a sensational feat for an Indian sportsman. DD telecast highlights of the game a week later

Oh yes, DD didnt telecast the Wally Masur Davis Cup match as well !!!  :damn:  I had blogged about that one here
http://thetalkativeman.blogspot.com/200 ... -1987.html

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Re: Ramesh Krishnan thread

Postby PKBasu » Tue Sep 17, 2013 3:24 pm

Here's RK2's file from the Wimbledon archive:

http://www.wimbledon.com/en_GB/scores/d ... index.html

Ramesh never played doubles at Wimbledon (although he came back to partner Jeremy Bates in winning the Veterans' doubles!). In singles, he made the QF in 1986, and made R3 on four other occasions.


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