Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

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

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PKBasu
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Zeeshan Ali

Postby PKBasu » Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:06 am

Not quite a golden oldie -- he just turned 35 and so isn't really old, and sadly his career didn't quite turn to gold either.
I was intrigued (by a piece in India Today about Sania) that mentioned that Zeeshan was ranked in the 120s when he was 18, but faded thereafter. I didn't remember this, and so did a quick check. And it's true: Zeeshan Ali was ranked 126 (a career-high) on December 12th 1988, when he was still 20 days shy of his 19th birthday. Terribly terribly sad that he couldn't make it beyond that. In retrospect, probably the single biggest lost opportunity for an Indian tennis player in the past two decades.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:18 am

Zeeshan got to that ranking by making the final in the New Haven (CT) Challenger, where he lost to (believe it or not) #186th ranked Vijay Amritraj!! And he also made the semifinal of a Challenger in Indonesia. He also made the second round of a tour event in Schenectady, where he lost to Johan Kriek in straight sets. The following year, Zeeshan had a string of R1 losses in pro tour events -- but his ranking stayed around 140-160 through most of the year. He also made the main draw of Wimbledon, losing to Wally Masur in straight sets.
Last edited by PKBasu on Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby Rajiv » Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:23 am

yes pkb this jump from 250something to 123 was a result of his complete domination of the 4 weeks satelitte circuit in india which he conquered all of them singles as well as doubles with mark ferrieria , i well rememberber this as i was the ball boy at the masters in bombay , anand too was there playing doubles with llyod bourne ( to be match fit for dc ties) and with a bottlesucking stephen in tow.

sadly this domination of futures or satellites the way zeeshan did none of the present crop can be expected to deliver.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:33 am

The other guy who was close to "making it" as a pro in the 1980s was S Vasudevan. He made R2 of the Tokyo Outdoor (tour event, once won by Ramesh Krishnan) in both 1985 and 1986. In 1986 he made two consecutive Challenger semifinals (and reached his career-high of 166 on the ATP computer), and I remember him giving a decent fight to Yannick Noah at another tour event in France.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby gbelday » Mon Jan 31, 2005 6:41 pm

I remember Shashi Menon doing pretty well in Davis cup matches - not sure how high he reached in ATP rankings though

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby BSharma » Mon Jan 31, 2005 9:18 pm

Sashi Menon had a career high ATP Entry ranking of 87 on March 18, 1976.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Tue Feb 01, 2005 4:23 am

Well, I would count Sashi Menon among those who "made it" as a pro. He played regularly on the tour for about a decade, although he was obliged to play a lot of Challengers throughout that time. But he was a pretty regular player in the main draws of the Slams and was ranked in the 90-120 range for most of his career.
Anand Amritraj reached a career-high ranking of 73 I believe. Chiradeep Mukherjea remained an amateur, so had a career-high ranking in the 220s. But he played at least twice in the main draw at Wimbledon, and made the second round once. Had he chosen to become a pro, he may have done better than Sashi Menon.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby Rajiv » Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:57 am

the unique thing about these players , anand , sashi , vasu , zeeshan , chiradeep, jaydeep , jasgit ,premjit etc , was that they supported the main cast so well that we perinially remined in the top tier and were a force to reckon with , unilike the second tier today where we basically have to write them off if they come against likes of srichapan , hewit or top 100 player but not the oldies you could confidentaly bet for a win when they were up against the best.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Wed Feb 02, 2005 4:19 pm

Talking of Ramesh Krishnan, 1981 (when he was 20 years old) was a pretty good year for him. He made the QF at the US Open, beating Gene Mayer (seeded 7th, but ranked in the top 5 for much of the year) in the PQF (with Mayer defaulting at 2 sets apiece) and then going 76 67 in the first two sets of a four-set loss to McEnroe in the quarters. Ramesh also won in Manila (on clay) later in the year, two weeks after losing in the semifinal in Bangkok (to Wilander).
We don't currently have the prospect of any of our boys emulating Ramesh -- although Sania at 18 is well-positioned to outdo Ramesh, Vijay and everybody who came before...

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby punarayan » Wed Feb 02, 2005 7:18 pm

Ramesh gave me the best tennis of any Indian. I saw him play for almost 14 years around the NY area. He reached in my opinion the highest level in the Open era. He beat most of the top players of his day and was called "The Surgeon" by his fellow pros and they came out to see him play too. Johnny Mac said he and Ramesh were of a kind atleast at tennis and not behavior! I saw him turn Gilbert into a nervous jerk on an indoor court because it was raining. Gilbert in '89 or so was practically unbeaten! Even as a junior Ramesh was awesome. I miss his tennis tremendously. Just to see Ramesh hit a ball. Pure Magic!

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby BSharma » Wed Feb 02, 2005 10:26 pm

I was fortunate enough to see both Ramanathan Krishnan and Ramesh Krishnan play tennis. Both had strokes as smooth as silk and their anticipation of the ball and movement on the court were awesome. They were not very quick but they always moved to the right place on the court for the next shot. If only they had a big serve........

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Thu Feb 03, 2005 12:33 am

Bhushan, you are truly fortunate. I never saw Ramathan play, and only watched Ramesh play a few Davis Cup matches and in the qualifying round of the US Open in the last year of his pro career. But he had an uncanny ability to move to exactly where the ball was coming and return it with his silky-smooth strokes. Perhaps the best match I saw him play was at Calcutta's South Club against Jakob Hlasek (a former top-10 player and then still ranked in the top-30). By the third set, Hlasek's legs were literally shaking as he was demolished by Ramesh, 63 64 62.

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby Rajiv » Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:46 am

victory over hlasek was emphatic , i saw that match
and we would be out of davis cup if not for leanders leap of death in the doubles, match point down rosset hit a smash lob and it was all over , the swiss gave up and leander from nowhere dived to lob back the ball , and swiss just stood there having thought they had won the point and the match , we went on to win the doubles ,
had we lost doubles the swiss would have led 2-1 , than rosset next day would have won his singles , which he duly did over lp
and than sadly there would be no FREJUS, hence FREJUS WOULLD not have happended had lp not saved that impossible smash from rosset match point down.

but in my mind his(RK'S) best dc match on indian soil would be his RK'S anhilation of tomas smid in straight sets and that too when tomas was a top 20 player , he (tomas) had absolutely no clue what was happening

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby PKBasu » Thu Feb 03, 2005 1:59 pm

Hey, Rajiv, we may have been at the same venue then...I was at the South Club on that Sunday when LP lost in straight sets to Rosset and Ramesh annihilated Hlasek. Sadly, I didn't see the Smid demolition. The only other Davis Cup match I saw Ramesh play was the deciding match of the Argentina tie in Delhi (1987), when he comfortably beat Horacio de la Pena. But the heroics that day came from Vijay Amritraj. Down two sets to love (36 36) and 2-5 in the third against world #16 Martin Jaite, Vijay made an impossible drop shot to save a match-point and then played the match of his life to win the final three sets 64 86 62. It was pure adrenalin and craftiness that won Vijay that match, at the ripe old age of 33 years and 3 months, when he was already in semi-retirement and his thigh muscles had begun to show it...

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Golden Stars of Indian Tennis

Postby Rajiv » Thu Feb 03, 2005 2:34 pm

ya pkb , we would have seen each other , i was wearing boss t shirt given by the sponsors :)
actually i went to all the dc matches held in india from 85 to 88 strarting with pannata led team in cal till 88 against bobo zivonivic in delhi
and yes i do remember the famous victory over the argies - martin jaite , and i do i remeber the drop shot and akin to lp against swiss , both would be right up there and do you rember it was "holi" on that day and what a blast we had with colours with the fellow tennis nuts who use to travel after the match ,
and even though rk match against horacio de la pena was to follow it was forgone conclusion that rk would win the match and tie.


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