Vijay Amritraj thread

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Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby Prashant » Sun Jun 25, 2006 2:42 pm

PKBasu wrote:In the Slams, Vijay made two QFs each at the US Open and Wimbledon, while Ramesh made two QFs at the US Open but only one at Wimbledon.


One of Vijay's QF at Wimbledon has an asterisk though - it was the year that many top pros did not participate (I think Jan Kodes ended up winning).

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Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby PKBasu » Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:45 am

Yes, that asterisk is mentioned prominently in the original post of this thread. Vijay lost in the QF to Jan Kodes. Incidentally, Leander Paes may have ended the junior Jan Kodes' tennis career by beating the top-seeded younger Kodes in the first round of the AO juniors in 1990.

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Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby arjun2761 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:24 pm

Of course, on the other side, Vijay nearly won both the QF's. I think he had a match point against the eventual winner Kodes in the his first QF before losing 5-7 in the 5th set. In the second QF in 1981, which I saw on TV, he was outclassing Jimmy Connors in winning the first two sets before a visibly tiring Vijay (who would almost not chase any ball that was outside his strike zone) folded in the towel and lost the last 3 sets.

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Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby PKBasu » Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:11 pm

Wow, Arjun, you watched that match?? (You turned out to be a lot less young than I imagined!!). It must have been on a black and white TV. I only heard the commentary on BBC (short wave) on a very faint line late at night in Darjeeling (I had to go out onto the parapet outside the dorm, where the reception was better -- although it was pretty cold that cloudy night). Vijay seemed to be walking away with the match when Jimmy summoned up deep wellsprings of extra effort to thwart him in the third set and beyond. I was glad I actually witnessed Vijay do it to another player -- when that famous drop-volley started his titanic fightback against Martin Jaite at the DLTA in 1987.
(Ramesh, btw, took a set off Connors one year at Wimbledon and beat him in Hong Kong, although Vijay beat Connors three times -- but lost all three times that they met at Slams. Ramesh did some great things against Wilander, including beating him at the AO when he was world #1 and the defending AO, USO and FO champion).
Last year, it was rather nice to hear Jimmy and Vijay reminisce (and wince!) about that match on TV from Wimbledon. Connors is a terrific commentator, and Vijay is the perfect host and raconteur.

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Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby arjun2761 » Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:31 pm

Yes, it was B/W TV at a club since my grand father (who I was staying with) did not own a TV set. While Connors did turn it up a notch, Vijay really faded away as well making tons of unforced errors and not really chasing down too many balls (he looked visibly tired). I recall a similar turnaround in a more recent match between LP and Agassi (at the USopen) where LP was outplaying Agassi for a set and a half before he abruptly faded away (not looking tired but LP appeared to have switched off mentally).

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby PKBasu » Mon Sep 25, 2006 11:56 am

I just noticed another small error in my original post in this thread. Vijay won the Newport singles title not twice, but thrice, once each leap year from 1976 to 1984. He also won two doubles titles there, but never won a double crown! (Remember Anand Amritraj beat John McEnroe in Newport the week after Johnnie Mac had made the Wimbledon SF for the first time, and Leander Paes won his only ATP singles title there -- so it is no wonder that Bud Collins refers to Newport as the second home of Indian tennis...).

Perhaps it is also worth mentioning that Vijay Amritraj not only won a total of 16 ATP tour titles, he also won 15 doubles titles on the tour. In all, he reached a total of 50 finals in singles and doubles in his career. Clearly the greatest Indian tennis player to-date in the professional era, as I said in my first line of this thread.

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby PKBasu » Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:27 pm

I had the privilege of watching Vijay Amritraj play one of his greatest Davis Cup matches -- against Martin Jaite of Argentina, then ranked #16 in the world to Vijay's 250+ -- at the DLTA grass courts in March 1987. Vijay was approaching 34, and gaining weight as his professional commitments diminished: in fact, I recall his thighs looked like great tree-trunks. He lost the first two sets tamely, and appeared to be in serious trouble at 1-4 and 0-40 in the third (another service break and it would be curtains) when he came up with an impossible drop-shot from the back of the court to claw back into the match. After that, the crowd (led by me and a bunch of school-children specially bused in -- and totally lacking in tennis etiquette at first) galvanised into action and lifted Vijay's game to unimaginable heights. He pulled off shots from amazing angles, his serving was impeccable, and he gradually gained complete mastery of the court by reasserting his serve and volley style. The fourth set was a ding-dong battle that ended 8-6 in Vijay's favour, but after that the fight went out of a tiring Jaite. It was wonderful to see the ageing veteran firing on all cylinders in the final set, as the young star faded -- and the final set was won 6-2. I was wearing a horribly loud white, grey and blue thick-striped shirt, but I was first onto the court after his victory, shook the great man's hand and said "Vijay, you are the pride of India!" Vijay was momentarily non-plussed, but then gave me his inimitable smile! What a day!

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby sanjay5goel » Thu Nov 30, 2006 7:50 pm

I remember watching the match on TV (Door Darshan) and had goose bumps on me for most of the 3rd & 4th sets.

Thanks PKB for bringing back those memories.

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby Rajiv » Fri Dec 01, 2006 1:49 am

on the day which va won , was one of the most ironic bitter sweet day for Indian sports.
on that day two of the greatest events of Indian sports were unfolding.
while vijay was scripting his epoch , gavaskar on the 5th day of the banglore test chasing victory against pakistan was embroiled in the finest innings of his life on a minefield of a track against iqbal qasim - tausif ahmed  whom no one could counter. , (the innings sg played i feel was much greater than the 221 innings he played at oval. )

i remember myself in the delhi stands viewing vijay etching an once in lifetime epic and at the same time  with a transistor in my ear praying for sg (playing one of the finest innings of indian cricket ) to finish the job which he almost did but we eventually lost.

so rueing the lost chances in cricket and brooding over it ,and at the same time watching the unfolding of once in lifetime match in history of indian tennis left me all to perplexed bitter sweet feeling on that day which i will never forget,

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby gbelday » Fri Dec 01, 2006 8:30 pm

I remember Vijay's win as well as Gavaskar's knock very well Rajiv.  Azhar was the only other player who did an ok job.  Gavaskar was brilliant though, haven't seen such determination from anyone before! I think he fell for 96 or something like that?

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby PKBasu » Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:05 am

I remember both events vividly, but I'm pretty sure they didn't occur on the same day. I was at the DLTA watching Vijay beat Jaite in the morning, and then Ramesh beat Horacio de la Pena in the evening match. But I also remember being glued to the TV watching Gavaskar's valiant innings on the fourth morning of the Bangalore test (which also turned out to be his last test innings). In that Bangalore test, no batsman from either side got more than 50 (which is what Vengsarkar scored in the first innings), the highest score from Pakistan being Rameez Raja's 47. The pitch was taking spin from the first day, on which Maninder (7/27) routed Pakistan for 116. In the final innings, nobody other than Azhar (26) got more than 20 for India, but Gavaskar was unbeaten on 51 overnight, and survived a confident appeal for a catch at backward short-leg off Iqbal Qasim when he was on 52 early on the final morning. (Imran Khan swears in his autobiography that Gavaskar was out at 52; but for a change, he did not walk. Imran also says it was one of the greatest innings he ever saw anyone play). Sunny was ultimately given out for 96, caught at backward short-leg off Iqbal Qasim -- when his bat was nowhere near the ball. It was a kind of poetic justice: the umpire may have erred when Sunny was on 52, but he still ultimately prevented him from getting a century (what would have been his 35th) in his last test innings. Pakistan won a series in India for the first time -- one of the crowning achievements of Imran's career as captain (along with the 1992 World Cup).

So I went back and checked the dates, Rajiv. The early part of Gavaskar's innings was on the same day as Vijay's (and Ramesh's) heroics -- which is what you probably remember -- on March 15th, 1987. But the final day of the test match (after the rest day!) was March 17th -- when the tragedy ultimately unfolded.
Last edited by PKBasu on Fri Dec 08, 2006 3:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby Rajiv » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:00 pm

warm birthday wishes to vijay on his 53rd birthday , a true champion  a great player and a thorough gentleman.

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby jaydeep » Wed Sep 26, 2007 1:56 pm

Nice interview of Anand Amritraj, who is in Mumbai for Mumbai Open with Rediff's Deepti Patwardhan.

[url=http://]'Vijay was a better player than Borg, Connors'[/url]

He was a part of the ABC of tennis..

Yeah, but B (Bjorn Borg) and C (Jimmy Connors) won multiple Grand Slams; A hasn't won any. Vijay has beaten Borg, Connors and McEnroe many times. He was as good, or even better than Borg and Connors.

I think the reason he didn't win a Grand Slam was that he was unable to put it together over a period of one week. Even as a team, we won 28 ATP titles, reached the final of the Grand Slam, but for some reason was not able to win it. There were some great doubles teams in our era and we were in the top-5 for almost 15 years.

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby jayakris » Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:15 pm

I couldn't remember Amritraj beating Borg, but he has one win (at USO 74) against Borg too ..  VA's record against those three

Borg - 1-5
McEnroe - 2-11
Connors - 5-6

But eight wins against those guys are itself pretty impressive.  Yeah, it is sad that he never made even a grand slam final.  He was too god not to have.

Jay

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Re: Vijay Amritraj thread

Postby arjun2761 » Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:54 pm

I suspect the losses to McEnroe came when VA was a little older.  Connors and Borg were more in his age cohort and he went 6-11 against them.  In addition, some his losses to Borg and Connors in the GS's were also pretty close.


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