Vijay Amritraj thread

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Atithee
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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby Atithee » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:28 am

Mine too. I kinda remember him as a player no one wanted to face in the early round of a slam. More than that, the only one of the ABC that did not fulfill the prophecy. He could have been so much more of a player than he achieved.

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby PKBasu » Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:22 am

Yes, he was always a dangerous floater in the early rounds of a Slam. But he doesn't really like the ABC comparison too much himself. When he was 19, he was seen by Bud Collins as having the same potential as Connors and Borg, but he never quite fulfilled that promise. But he had a very satisfactory career, especially considering the challenges of obtaining foreign exchange in that era (FERA began in 1973, for instance!). After that first win over Borg at the US Open, Borg tended to dominate him through the rest of their careers. (Borg was a bit younger, so his game may have really come into its own more fully by 1975-76, whereas Vijay appears to have peaked at 19 in 1973 and only briefly reached that peak again -- but never surpassed it). Vijay had a fairly even record against Connors, but the latter beat him whenever they played at the Slams. Both were serve-volleyers, and Vijay may have been better on many surfaces than Connors but the latter had the better temperament for the big points in the big tournaments.

I had the good fortune of being at the DLTA when Vijay turned the tables, and beat #16 Martin Jaite in a classic 5-setter, after being down 2 sets and facing a match-point at 2-5 in the third set. The tiger that emerged at that point was amazing to watch and cheer on. I wished he had been able to summon that inner tiger when he was younger and on the verge of beating Borg and Connors at Wimbledon -- but that wasn't to be. Unfortunately, he also lost in R2 at Wimbledon to too many other players he shouldn't have lost to -- Niki Pilic, an ageing Charlie Pasarell, etc. (and to an even more ageing Ken Rosewall, who had Vijay's number through most of his career). I used to wait with bated breath for news from Wimbledon, and still remember the names of his R2 conquerors without a sweat...

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby PKBasu » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:19 am

Having watched 19-year-old Nick Hilmy Kyrgios beat Nadal a couple of days ago in four sets, and then lose in four sets to Raonic yesterday, I was reminded of the sad fact that Vijay Amritraj peaked at 19, and never really attained those heights again. In 1973 (the year in which some of the top professionals boycotted Wimbledon), Vijay made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon -- only losing a close 5-set match to the eventual champion, Jan Kodes. The latter was runner-up at the US Open too -- and all the top pros were there -- losing a 5-setter to Newcombe in the final, so 1973 was Kodes' best year too.

But Vijay Amritraj beat the legendary Rod Laver 76 26 64 26 64 in the third round of the 1973 US Open -- and it must have been just as big a sensation in the world of tennis then as Kyrgios' triumph over Nadal this year at Wimbledon. Vijay lost in the USO quarter-final that year in straight sets to the 38-year-old Ken Rosewall, and rather unfairly ran into the same legend in R2 of Wimbledon and the QF of the USO in 1974 (losing all three times). He was never to make the QF of the USO after those two trips there at the age of 19 and 20. Cautionary tale for Kyrgios (and perhaps also for Tomic, who made the QF at Wimbledon when he was 19, but has seemingly faded since).

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby Prashant » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:35 pm

I thought the year Vijay lost to Kodes was when Wimbledon was depleted of most of the top players due to some row with the ATP?

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby PKBasu » Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:47 pm

Yes, Prashant, please read my post above. But that did not affect the US Open, where Vijay beat Rod Laver.

The following year, Vijay again made the QF at the US Open, beating the 4th seeded Bjorn Borg in the second round. In fact, in the same round, his brother Anand Amritraj beat 10th seeded Manuel Orantes (the man who was to win the US Open the following year), so both brothers made R3 of the US Open singles in 1974 -- with younger brother Vijay going all the way to the QF, where he took a set off Rosewall (better than his previous two losses to him at Wimbledon 1974 and USO 1973) but still lost. Vijay tells a hilarious story of his experience with his coach, the great Pancho Gonzales, who had had a great rivalry with Rosewall. When they first played in the 1973 US Open, Pancho gave Vijay just one instruction: "NEVER serve to his backhand". Yet, Vijay did -- not once (when Pancho was livid in the stands) but twice (when Pancho simply left the stadium, and didn't speak to Vijay for several months afterwards!!).

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby Rajiv » Tue Oct 06, 2015 3:34 pm

This is the follow up match of the 1987 DC finals of Vijay against Yarrud and just like the first match not so pleasant result but still a wonderful trip down the memory lane.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_9dPCh_Fqw


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