Premjit Lall thread

All posts regarding past greats should be made under this heading.

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
PKBasu
Member
Member
Posts: 29308
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 6:04 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: Singapore

Premjit Lall thread

Postby PKBasu » Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:18 pm

Premjit Lall was the debonair star of Indian tennis in the 1960s and early-1970s. With Jaidip Mukerjea, he formed a potent combination that made the Wimbledon doubles quarter-final three times.

Premjit had a distinguished Davis Cup career, compiling a 58-32 win-loss record. Among his most memorable Davis Cup singles victories was over Ray Ruffels of Australia (a singles semi-finalist at the AO in each of the two previous years) in 1970 in the Eastern zonal finals (which, along with his terrific straight sets victory over Dick Crealy, enabled India to win 3-1 and go into the Inter-Zonal Semi-final of the Davis Cup that year). Dick Crealy made the Australian Open singles final later that year (losing to Ashe)!

Premjit Lall also had memorable Davis Cup singles victories over Germany's Inge Buding (in Munich in the Inter-Zonal semi-final in 1968, which India won 3-2!) and in 1971 against the Romanian Ion Tiriac (later famous as the coach of Boris Becker and others). Premjit was 33 years old by the time the ATP began its system of computer rankings, and he achieved a ranking of 105 on the computer that year. Had computer rankings existed in the late-1960s, he would certainly have been in the top-50 for several years. Even in 1973, at the age of 33, he had tour victories over Roscoe Tanner (the man with the fastest serve in the world at the time) on indoor carpet (!), over the British #1 Mark Cox on clay (in Houston) and the American Fred McNair in Delhi. And of course he lost to Bjorn Borg in R1 at Wimbledon, after the longest tie-breaker (a record that still stands; it has been equalled many times -- including by Borg-McEnroe at Wimbledon -- but never broken!).

User avatar
PKBasu
Member
Member
Posts: 29308
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 6:04 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: Singapore

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby PKBasu » Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:33 pm

Incidentally, although Lall was 33 (and Mukerjea 31) in 1973, they made the quarter-finals of the doubles at Wimbledon that year -- only losing to the eventual champions, Jimmy Connors and Ilie Nastase, 1-6 2-6 7-5 2-6. Lall played doubles throughout that year with different partners; the old duo got together at Nottingham finally, and made the QF again at Wimbledon. (Mukerjea made R4/PQF in singles at Wimbledon, and then R2 at Newport, but didn't play too much through the rest of the year). Lall/Mukerjea also made the doubles QF in Delhi. The following year, they lost in R2 of the Wimbledon doubles (Lall was 34!) but beat the highly respected pairing of Clark Graebner and Dennis Ralston of the US (who had frustrated them so often in Davis Cup) 6-3 9-8 6-4 (tie-breakers were taken at 8-8 then, not 6-6).

User avatar
PKBasu
Member
Member
Posts: 29308
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 6:04 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: Singapore

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby PKBasu » Thu Oct 05, 2006 6:46 pm

Lall was almost 30, and Guillermo Vilas was a promising 18 year old when they met in the first round at Wimbledon in 1970. Premjit Lall d. Guillermo Vilas 6-1 6-2 6-4 on the way to the third round that year. Vilas also lost to Jaidip Mukherjea at Queen's in 1972. By the mid-1970s, Vilas chose to skip the grass-court season altogether, while becoming one of the greatest clay-courters of all time. Nadal just beat Vilas' record of most consecutive singles victories on clay.

User avatar
PKBasu
Member
Member
Posts: 29308
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 6:04 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: Singapore

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby PKBasu » Sat Oct 07, 2006 5:32 pm

The run to the third round in 1970 (the third year of the Open era) marked the third time in Lall's career that he had reached R3 at Wimbledon, the first two occasions being 1962 and 1965. IN 1958, Lall of course became the second Indian male (and the third Indian overall) to reach a junior singles final, losing to the American Earl Bucholtz. Lall also made the doubles QF with Jaidip Mukherjea in 1966 and 1973.

User avatar
PKBasu
Member
Member
Posts: 29308
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 6:04 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: Singapore

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby PKBasu » Mon Apr 09, 2007 10:10 am

In 1969 (the second year of the Open era), Premjit Lall made the third round at the French Open, and the second round in both the US Open and Wimbledon (hardly anyone bothered with the Aussie Open in those days apart from the Aussies themselves and a few players from Japan, Indonesia, etc.). That was the year that Rod Laver completed a single-year Grand Slam (the only man to do it in the Open era, and the second time he had done it overall). At Wimbledon, only two players took Laver to five sets -- Stan Smith in the fourth round and Premjit Lall in the second round. The scoreline was a heartbreaker: R Laver d P Lall 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 6-0, 6-0. Laver had stamina!! At the French, Lall lost a 5-setter to Stan Smith (again losing the 5th set 0-6...). In 1970, Lall made the second round at the US Open after reaching the third round at Wimbledon. There were no computer rankings at the time, but Lall (at the age of 30 in 1970) would certainly have been in the top-60 or so in both 1969 and 1970 had computer rankings existed then. 

StatsRock
Member
Member
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:17 pm

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby StatsRock » Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:23 pm

I newly registered myself on this site and greetings to all Indian Sports fans  :notworthy:

Needless to say, a very informative forum, happy to see like-minded people  :D


Glad to find a thread for Premjit Lall here. I read Premjit's Book DOWN THE LINE twenty years ago. It appears that in Laver's 2nd Grand Slam year 1969, he ran into Premjit in the 2nd round of Wimby. Premjit played sublime tennis to take the first 2 sets, then in the 3rd he suffered cramps in the elbow and went on to lose unluckily to the Aussie. It seems Laver commented, "The civil engineer happened to get some cement lodged in his elbow and it was my lucky day".

Yajaman
Member
Member
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:45 am

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby Yajaman » Wed Dec 31, 2008 8:08 pm

Mr. Premjit Lall passed away last evening after nearly a decade of illness.....he would easily go in as one of the greatest Tennis players from India...May his soul rest in peace.

User avatar
S_K_S
Member
Member
Posts: 2688
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2003 7:00 pm
Antispam: No
Please enter the middle number: 5
Location: Birmingham, UK

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby S_K_S » Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:13 pm

That's really sad news. Deepest condolences to all who knew him.

User avatar
BSharma
Authors
Authors
Posts: 12076
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 8:51 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: USA

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby BSharma » Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:34 am

My condolences to the family of Mr Premjit Lal.

It was a treat to watch Mr Premjit Lal play tennis and I had the good fortune to see him from close on several occasions. He was always very accomodating to youngsters and I was amongst those who benefited from his advice about tennis. The one image that stands out in my memory was when he was playing a Davis Cup match for India. The crowd was shouting for an ace from Premjit Lal and he indeed had a booming serve. He walked over to his chair to get a towel, wiped his hand and the racket handle and walked back to the court to serve. Everyone including his opponent knew it was going to be an ace. Up went the ball and down came the racket head and there was the ace. The only one not smiling in the stadium was his opponent across the net.

May Mr. Premjit Lal's soul rest in peace.

User avatar
PKBasu
Member
Member
Posts: 29308
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 6:04 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: Singapore

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby PKBasu » Fri Jan 02, 2009 9:03 am

May Premjit Lall's soul rest in peace. My condolences to his children who survive him, especially his son Dev (who was a year senior to me at school in Darjeeling for a few years, albeit a searing talent who never lived up to his potential as a kid -- partly perhaps because of his parents' sad break-up). I never had the good fortune of watching Premjit Lall in his prime, although I did see him play a bit in his twilight years. The elegance of his game perfectly matched his debonair good looks.
Some of us were able to participate in a small fund-raising effort for Premjit Lall through this forum several years ago, but he sadly spent his last few years in pain and in a wheelchair. As Ramanathan Krishnan says in this beautiful tribute, this was sometimes the most difficult thing for his friends and admirers to countenance:

http://www.hindu.com/2009/01/02/stories ... 351600.htm

As Laver and StatsRock have pointed out, it was only cramps in his elbow that stopped Premjit's juggernaut in that famous match against Laver in 1969. He was up 3-0 in the third set when cramps got him -- and he won no more games thereafter. A tragedy, but one that left indelible memories of incredible play against the master of tennis in the master's banner year.

User avatar
jayakris
Moderators
Moderators
Posts: 22677
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2002 7:24 am
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: Irvine, CA, USA
Contact:

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby jayakris » Fri Jan 02, 2009 2:05 pm

RIP, Premjit Lall. Yes, Bhushan, that was one of the nicer things we all did at one time, raising some funds for APremjit Lall who was in a wheel chair and needed help.

His looks were so good that the British girls were thronging the matches he played at Wimblledon, I believe. He almost had Laver once.

Jay

User avatar
BSharma
Authors
Authors
Posts: 12076
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 8:51 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: USA

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby BSharma » Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:00 pm

jayakris wrote:RIP, Premjit Lall. Yes, Bhushan, ...
Jay


I guess you mean PKB :D . For folks who may be new to the forum, Jay organized a fund raising effort through Sports-India to help Premjit Lall financially.

Ramanathan Krishnan, Jaideep Mukherjea and Premjit Lall were handsome players, and Premjit Lall had the best looks amongst the three. He could have been a Bollywood hero and would have been Dev Anand's main rival. Women and girls in India in the 1960s (at least in Lucknow and Allahabad) were not too open in expressing their fondness for young male tennis players, but I read a report recently that Wimbledon has provided police escorts for only two male tennis players to keep the women away from them and they were Borg and Premjit Lall.

Premjit Lall was a classic serve and volley player and also had decent groundstrokes. He would participate in a tournament every year at the Gymkhana Club where I played junior tennis and he was always very accomodating to the youngsters.

User avatar
PKBasu
Member
Member
Posts: 29308
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 6:04 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: Singapore

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby PKBasu » Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:13 pm

Technically, Premjit Lall's best Slam performance was making the PQF at the Australian championship in 1962, where he lost to John Newcombe. His friend Jaidip Mukherjea also made the PQF in singles that year, and they made the QF in doubles too.

attilaszabo
Member
Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:29 am
Antispam: No
Please enter the middle number: 5

Premjit Lall's book Down the Line

Postby attilaszabo » Tue Nov 16, 2010 6:10 pm

hi

I collect tennis books and live in the USA. I have been searching for many years for a copy of lall's biography " Down the Line" published
i think in 1978

If anyone has a copy that is willing to part with it, i would like to buy it
of if you would like trade it for some other tennis books

thank you

attila szabo

attilas@nih.gov

User avatar
PKBasu
Member
Member
Posts: 29308
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 6:04 pm
Please enter the middle number: 1
Location: Singapore

Re: Premjit Lall thread

Postby PKBasu » Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:49 pm

Premjit Lall played singles for 15 years at Wimbledon, and there were 17 years separating his first from his last doubles appearance. He probably made the most successful transition to the pro era among India's players, making R3 in singles at Wimbledon in 1970 (aged 30). Had he not lost in R1 in 1973 to Borg (including the longest tiebreaker), he would have had a much higher ranking in that first year of the ATP computer rankings. Anyway, as mentioned before, he made R3 in singles on three occasions, and twice made the doubles QF at Wimbledon:

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


Return to “The Golden Oldies”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest