Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

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

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Thu Jun 12, 2003 2:22 am

Hi Anonymous1 (rather Chats/Aaron Chatterjee on this occasion, I believe),

Thanks for the excellent link to a nice Indian Express article summarising some of the main achievements of Ramanathan, Vijay and Ramesh.
But I think this is a classic example of the way in which Vijay's (singles) achievements are always made to look a lot better (in India's press) than Ramesh's (Vijay is clearly the more glamorous figure; he got to play tennis with George Shultz and then-VP George Bush, was president of the ATP for many years, etc -- clearly a man who achieved a great deal more off the court). But here's ATP's listing of Vijay's titles (8 singles titles, 3 of them at Newport, RI):

SINGLES CAREER TITLES (8): 1976--Memphis WCT, Newport; 1977--Auckland; 1978--Mexico City; 1980--Bangkok, Newport; 1984--Newport; 1986--Bristol FINALIST (5): 1973--South Orange; 1976--St. Louis WCT; 1978--Cologne; 1980--Milan; 1983--Stowe

DOUBLES CAREER TITLES (8): 1986--Newport; 1983--Newport; 1982--Chicago-2 WCT; 1980--Rotterdam; 1977--London / Queen's Club, Masters Doubles WCT; 1976--Memphis WCT; 1975--Los Angeles FINALIST (2): 1984--Stockholm; 1977--Rotterdam

And here's Ramesh's record from the ATP's official site (8 titles, 4 finals; and 1 doubles title):
SINGLES CAREER TITLES (8): 1981--Manila; 1982--Stuttgart Outdoor; 1984--Metz; 1986--Hong Kong, Tokyo Outdoor; 1988--Wellington; 1989--Auckland; 1990--Schenectady FINALIST (4): 1985--Cologne; 1988--Auckland, Bristol, Rye Brook
DOUBLES CAREER TITLES (1): 1987--Nancy

Incidentally, in 1988, when the ATP was experimenting with a "Champions Race"-type of ranking system (in parallel with the entry-system ranking) Ramesh Krishnan was #1 in the world going into the Australian Open, and I recall he was still in the top 5 when he came to Philadelphia for the Ebel US Pro Indoor in the second week of February.

QED?
Last edited by PKBasu on Thu Jun 12, 2003 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby jayakris » Thu Jun 12, 2003 2:39 am

PKB is right on this. Vijay has got (and continues to get) a lot more press in India that RK, who has nearly as good, or even a better record... Both were very good, in any case.

Jay

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Thu Jun 12, 2003 3:29 am

Actually, looking over the ATP lists, there appear to be some titles missing: Vijay won two Indian Opens (one in 1975 and one in 1973), which are not mentioned. And Ramesh won the Malaysian Open once -- which too doesn't find a mention. There may be others missing from both their lists, but the Indian Express total of 16 for Vijay and 8 for Ramesh grossly exaggerates the former's relative achievement.
Maybe the listing only includes tournaments of a certain size or level (the Indian Open for instance was a US$50K event in 1975 even though world #2 Orantes was playing!).
The notable feature, however, is that Ramesh won three really important titles: Tokyo (Gunze World -- which used to attract all the world's top players; Ramesh played a classic to beat Wilander in the final, having earlier beaten Lendl), Stuttgart and Hong Kong (where he beat Cash and Connors on the way to the title). The only comparable win for Vijay was the Memphis WCT event.
Vijay defeated virtually all of the top players of his time -- and was truly a world-beater on his day. But he was less consistent than Ramesh. The latter never beat McEnroe (against whom he always played close matches, including a tough 4-setter in the US Open quarter-final in 1984 when McEnroe made the famously uncharitable remarks about Ramesh's serve never reaching him).

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Add one more

Postby suresh » Thu Jun 12, 2003 8:50 pm

A google search gave me the following info:

Calcutta
November 19, 1979
32 Draw -
Surface - Clay

Semifinals
(1)Vijay Amritraj d. Wolfgang Popp 6-1 6-2
Peter Elter d. (7)Louk Sanders 6-1 6-1

Finals
(1)Vijay Amritraj d. Peter Elter 6-1 7-5

The URLhttp://tennis.webz.cz/res/1979/Calcutta-47.txt
PS: I have a suggestion to the Dhruv/Jay -- can you move all the discussion on Vijay vs
Ramesh, Vijay's wins to a different thread. Maybe we can all get together and compile
info on the wins of Ramesh, Vijay and Ramanathan.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby Dhruv » Thu Jun 12, 2003 9:15 pm

New thread started... as requested,I have moved a few articles from the old "hijacked" thread here :)

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thanks

Postby suresh » Fri Jun 13, 2003 7:59 am

Dhruv, Thanks for your prompt action.

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hi...not fair

Postby Rishav » Sun Jun 15, 2003 2:34 pm

hi guys,
this is not fair :eek: :cry: :mad: . i started a similar kind of thread and u locked it and then this... :mad: ... :xmas: .kidding. but tell me, where is all the information? I can't get it?

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Rita Davar

Postby PKBasu » Mon Jul 07, 2003 4:19 am

There is remarkably little information about Rita Davar, the first Indian (and a woman at that) to make a Wimbledon final (the junior women's, in 1952, a year before Ramanathan reached the boys' final). But she was among India's leading players in the 1950s -- although it is not clear (from this "official" history of Indian women's tennis) whether she ever actually played at Wimbledon proper or elsewhere on the women's tennis circuit (once she had ceased to be a junior).
The following is from an AITA site:

Women’s Tennis in India

By P.K.Datta

Tennis was introduced in India by the British in the last quarter of the 19th century and at their initiative, a regular tournament was first started in Lahore [now in Pakistan] in 1885 known as the Punjab Lawn Tennis Championship. The Ladies singles event in this championship was inaugurated in 1887, and interestingly, it coincided with the first Ladies singles event of the US National Championship at Philadelphia in the same year.

Those were the days of the British Raj in India and the participation of women was usually restricted to the wives and daughters of the British civilian and army officers posted in India. The first ladies champion at Lahore was Miss Warburton. Indian women’s participation in various tournaments began slowly and not until the end of 1910s or early 1920s did they come forward to play any significant role in the game. And their involvement first came in the mixed doubles events rather than in the singles.

The time taken by Indian women in establishing themselves in tennis was not surprising when seen in its historical and social perspective. During the early period tennis itself was a sport of the rich and elite, and played mostly in Gymkhanas and other European dominated clubs whose membership was often restricted to Europeans or to highly placed Indians. The dress code for Indian women and various social prejudices also acted as great constraints. The game was thus confined to a handful of highly westernized Indian families.

The first woman singles champion of Indian origin was EM Sandison who won the Bengal Lawn Tennis Championship title in Calcutta overcoming the challenges of British women participants in 1925. She was followed by her more famous younger sister Jenny who won her first of many singles titles in the more prestigious All India Championship played at Allahabad, in 1927. Sandison sisters belonged to an Anglo-Indian family coming from a small Railway colony of Kharagpur, West Bengal. Elsewhere in Bombay and Punjab, two women belonging to orthodox Indian families, Mrs.Khama Row and Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur created waves around this time. Khama, mother of more renowned Leela Row, bagged her first singles crown at the Bombay Presidency Hard Court Championship and Raj Kumari, the doubles title [with Miss E.Roe] at the Punjab Championship – both in 1927.

The years between the early 1930s to the end of the Second World War [i.e. up to mid 1940s] witnessed some exciting women’s tennis. Two of India’s greatest women players, Jenny Sandison and Leela Row made waves, one following the other. Jenny won the All India singles title at Allahabad seven times and the Bengal title six times breaking the monopoly of a large number of talented European players such as Mrs.Lena McKenna, Miss Byrant, Mrs.Stork, Mrs.Keays etc. She became the undisputed No.1 tennis player for a straight six years between 1930 to 1935 and in a tournament in Europe, she once beat Betty Nuthall, US champion 1930. Jenny was the first player of Indian origin to play at Wimbledon in 1929 but lost in the first round.

Leela Row was yet another outstanding player of this era who reigned supreme from mid 1930s with numerous laurels. Her numerous championship trophies included among others, seven Bombay Presidency Hard Court championship titles and seven All India singles titles at Allahabad etc. More creditably, she became the first Indian woman to win a round at Wimbledon in 1934 as she beat Miss GM Southwell [Britain] in the first round.

Around this time three highly talented Parsi women, PG Dinshaw, MH Dinshaw and Meher Dubash were also winning most of the important titles in the Sind Lawn Tennis Championship and North West Indian Tennis championship titles played at Karachi [now in Pakistan].

As the War ended, the National championship, traditionally played on grass courts, and the National Hard Court championship, were instituted by the All India Tennis Association in 1946. The first woman National Champion was Khanum Singh [nee Haji] in 1946 which was played on the grass courts of South Club, Calcutta. Khanum Haji who had a powerful service and a graceful all-round game was a National Champion for three successive years [1946-48]. Two renowned foreigners who visited India in this period and won our National crowns were Patricia Todd, USA [and a French Open Champion in 1947] and Althea Gibson, USA [Wimbledon and US Open champion in 1957-58].

Other women players of great merit during the period and up to the end of 1950s were Laura Woodbridge, a Britisher who made her home in India, Sarah Mody, Promilla Khanna, Urmila Thapar and Rita Davar. Rita distinguished herself with an outstanding feat at Wimbledon too – she became a Runner-up in the Junior Girls tournament there in 1952. So far she is the only woman to make such a mark at Junior Wimbledon.

With the retirement of these women stars of the 1950s, there was a lull in the women’s tennis scenario for a brief period before Nirupama Vasant [later Mrs.Mankad] arrived and completely dominated the field for several years between the mid 1960s to early 1970s. An Asian Champion in 1965 as a teenager, she won several National and other titles to become the undisputed No.1 in the women’s circuit. Nirupama Mankad was duly honoured for her contribution to women’s tennis and was awarded the prestigious Arjuna award for achievement in national sports in 1980. She is so far the only woman to have received this award in tennis. Other notable women either contemporaries to Nirupama in the 1970s or following her trail with distinction in the 1980s were among others, Peshawaria sisters, Kiran [now Mrs.Bedi] and Anu, Amreeta Ahluwalia [now Mrs.Balachandran], Namratha Appa Rao, Susan Das, Zenobia Irani, Nandini Rangarajan, Bela Pandit etc.

A new generation of women players took over in 1990s headed by Nirupama Vaidyanathan from Tamilnadu. Aradhana Reddy and K.Janaki were national champions [grass] in 1990 and 1991. Then it was Nirupama Vaidyanathan all over the scene till she turned professional in 1996. She won the National titles [grass] for four successive years between 1992 and 1995 and National Hard Court titles also for four years [1991 and 1993-95]. Following Nirupama’s foreign engagements, Arati Ponnappa, Rushmi Chakravorthi, Sai Jayalakshmy, Uzma Khan, Radhika Tulpule and Manisha Malhotra have been sharing the National titles [both on grass and on hard courts] among themselves – Manisha lifting the last grass court National title in January 2001. Nirupama however remained at the top as the most outstanding among them. She also created a bit of history in 1998 when she won the first round match [singles] against the Italian Gloria Pizzichini, ranked more than 100 spots ahead of her in WTA ranking, in the Australian Open – the first Indian woman to win a round in a Grand Slam tournament in the Open era [i.e. since 1968].

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby BSharma » Sat Dec 13, 2003 9:40 pm

Happy 50th birthday, Vijay!

:notworthy: :notworthy: :notworthy:

Love-50: Vijay completes golden jubilee

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Sun Dec 14, 2003 12:16 pm

Happy 50th Birthday, Vijay!
And thanks Bhushan for that nice link. Vijay makes an interesting point: it clicks for some people at the right time and they win Wimbledon, Pat Cash being among them. Unfortunately, Vijay never quite lived up to the potential he showed when he was 19, while Cash had 18 golden months during which he made the AO final and won Wimbledon but then gradually faded. Vijay had the misfortune to be playing when Borg was unstoppable, and then McEnroe came along. Although he occasionally beat all the great players of his time, he never did it in the majors. Nonetheless a great career -- and an even greater "post-career" -- makes Vijay the greatest ambassador Indian tennis had and probably will ever have. As a suave diplomat, I doubt he has a peer in the world of pro tennis.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby Rajiv » Mon Dec 15, 2003 5:47 am

belated birthday greetings to Vijay
one of the finest sportsman india has ever produced and whose gladiatorial davis cup matches are part of the indian tennis folklore
even though much of his life is spent outside india he remains commited to india and indian tennis and still likes nothing more than wolfing down a dosa or a biryani

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:25 am

The AITA site has a section on Indian legends, but focuses mainly on Davis Cup. Despite the latter focus, Leander Paes is not on the list yet (although he has the best career record in the Davis Cup of all India's past greats). Mahesh too deserves to be there, in my opinion, as does Sashi Menon. Ironically, Jasjit Singh is on the list -- effectively because of one match (his singles victory in the 1974 Davis Cup semi-final; the profile claims he was world #70 that year, which appears to be a dubious claim...he faded after that brief blip too!).
http://www.aitatennis.com/Tennis%20Lege ... egends.asp

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Mon Jun 07, 2004 7:19 am

The ATP site now has all the tournaments played since 1968 (i.e., the start of the professional/open era; before that year, pros could not play on the official international circuit, but had their own separate tour).

Here is one of Ramesh Krishnan's great triumphs, in Hong Kong (1986) when he beat Jimmy Connors in the quarters, Pat Cash in the SF and Andres Gomez in straight sets in the final:
http://www.atptennis.com/en/tournaments ... es=Singles

And this followed Ramesh's title two weeks earlier at the Tokyo Outdoor. That year, Vijay Amritraj too had won a title (on grass in Bristol, playing with a wildcard!), having beaten Ramesh in the PQF 64 64.

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Anand Amritraj

Postby PKBasu » Sat Jun 19, 2004 1:07 pm

The oft-forgotten elder brother of Vijay, Anand Amritraj was among the world's top-100 singles players for almost a decade. He had 12 doubles titles (all, I think, in Vijay's company), but he also had some great singles moments. Perhaps the best of them was beating John McEnroe 63 16 63 at Newport, RI the week after Johnnie Mac had made the Wimbledon semi-final. (Newport has of course been Indians' happy hunting ground: Vijay won the title there 3 times, Leander once).


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