Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

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

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:04 am

Many of us would remember Naresh Kumar as the commentator on Wimbledon for AIR (All India Radio), with his pithy but memorable summaries at the end of each day's play -- and later as non-playing captain of the Indian Davis Cup team. (His grandson was also my nephew's best friend at Kindergarten in Calcutta!). Naresh Kumar was a regular in the main draw of Wimbledon (singles and doubles) in the 1950s, and made the fourth round (last-16) in 1955, losing to the eventual champion that year, Tony Trabert:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1955_Wimbl ... 7s_Singles

The following year, there were three Indians in R2 of the men's singles at Wimbledon -- Krishnan (who beat 1954 champion Drobny in four sets in R1 but lost to Australia's Mal Anderson in R3), Kumar and Akhtar Ali (the future national coach of India).

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:25 am

A little snippet about Cotar Ramaswami, the double-international (tennis and cricket) in the most unexpected of places: http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/co ... 70540.html

Ramaswami was the son of Buchi Babu Naidu (who is considered the "father of Madras cricket", having established the first cricket club for Indians in Madras/Chennai in the first decade of the 20th century, and created a team of local Indians who took on the Europeans in an annual fixture there that lasted until 1952). The Buchi Babu invitational tournament remains an important annual event before the start of the official first-class season, and Sunil Gavaskar played it religiously throughout his career -- as did many of his contemporaries.

Ramaswami played two tests for India when he was 40+, and had a test batting average of 56.66 (having played both his tests in England, rather than at home)! But he had actually made his name as a long-standing Davis Cup player for India, and the Cricinfo article says he made R2 of the singles main draw at Wimbledon in 1922 (the same year another Indian, SM Hadi, also a first-class cricketer, made R3 in singles there).

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Sun Jun 09, 2013 8:46 am

Queen's Club (the second most important grass tournament on the calendar) begins this week. The singles and doubles titles at Queen's have each been won once by an Indian: Ramanathan Krishnan beat Neale Fraser 63 60 in the 1959 singles final, while the Amritraj brothers won the doubles in 1977. LP-MB were runners-up to the Bryans in 2011.

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:14 am

I had always wondered whether Rita Davar (Wimbledon girls singles finalist in 1952) had ever played in the main draw of Wimbledon -- thus preceding Sania Mirza, for instance. And the wonderful Wimbledon archives provide the answer. Not only did she play in the main draw, she made R2 in singles twice (1954 and 1955, albeit helped by byes!!), and the third round of Mixed Doubles (with Ramanathan Krishnan) in 1954 as well. Here is her official file:

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

Sania Mirza was still probably the first Indian woman to win a singles match in the main draw at Wimbledon!

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:24 am

Naresh Kumar played singles at Wimbledon for 11 years, making the singles PQF in 1955 -- and also the doubles QF (with Krish) that year. He made the doubles QF three times in all, and the MxD QF once. (He had Jenny Hoad -- perhaps the sister of Lew -- as a partner at least one year...). Here's his file:

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

Narendra Nath (different from the player we remember with the same name from the 1970s I think) was another contemporary of Naresh Kumar's and made a Wimbledon doubles QF in his company. He also made the singles R3 twice and the MxD PQF once:

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

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:18 am

Sumant Misra made the third round of men's singles at Wimbledon in 1947 and 1948, and also made the QF of men's doubles (with Subba Sawhney) in the year of our Independence (ie, just a month and a bit before the big day). A few weeks after Independence, he made R3 of the US national championships as well, and he and Jimmay Mehta made the doubles QF -- taking a set off the top-seeds and eventual champions, Kramer/Schoder (the only pair to do so). He only played three years at Wimbledon, but this is his file:

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

He had an Indian partner (HE Cargin, who seemed to specialize in MxD in the two years she played at Wimbledon) when he made R4 (PQF) of the MxD in 1950.

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:39 am

Here is Cotah Ramaswami's file of Wimbledon exploits from 1921 and 1922 (R1 and R2 in singles, but twice R2 in doubles, and once R3 in MxD):

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

And here is the even more impressive file for Athar Ali Fyzee, who was a regular at Wimbledon from 1910 to 1933, and made the R3 of singles in 1926:

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

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Thu Nov 21, 2013 2:27 am

In 1925, 30-year-old Jagat Mohan Lal, a regular Davis Cup player for India, made his one and only appearance at Wimbledon, and made it all the way to the pre-quarterfinal in singles -- losing there in four sets to Henri Cochet, one of the famous Four Musketeers (Lacoste, Borotra, Cochet...) who dominated world tennis in the 1920s:

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

That he was able to take a set off Cochet suggests Jagat Mohan Lal was really very good, and perhaps only a dearth of financial resources prevented him from achieving a lot more in tennis.

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Re: Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby rajitghosh » Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:15 am

I am a new joinee on this forum but I find the threads here very interesting. Yet I find very little on the Indian players of the 20's- SM Jacob, M Sleem, the Fyzee brothers and so on. I saw a few comments only.
Jacob was the 1st Indian player to reach the semis of a grand slam- French Open, 1925. He also reached the Wimbledon quarterfinal that year a full 14 years before Ghaus Mohammed. He reached the Olympics quarter final as well in 1924.
All these players did quite well in Davis Cup as well as the tournaments in England. Sleem, Jacob and AH Fyzee won nearly 10 tournaments each. The information is available on various websites. Sleem and Jacob finished runner-up at Quuen's on different occassions.
If you discount the level of competition in those days, Jacob would be actually be India's 4th most successful singles players after the Krishnans and Vijay Amritraj. Even Sleem and AH Fyzee would rank immediately after Jaidip Mukerjea and maybe ahead of Leander Paes.


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