(Last Updated on : 16/11/2012)
Indian tennis players, right from the inception have always ruled the international tournaments. The game enjoying considerable following and footage in India, legendary players like Vijay Amritraj, Ramanathan Krishnan have brought international glory. Currently Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes and Sania Mirza have earned many accolades. A certain amount of glamour and glory is associated with the game of tennis.
Since the early 1900s, Indian tennis players have proved their skill and talent through their exceptional performances in national and international tournaments, gifting the country pride and recognition in the field of sports. Legendary tennis players like Vijay Amritraj
, Ramanathan Krishnan
had excelled in their careers. Mahesh Bhupathi, Leander Paes, Sania Mirza
are amongst the new players who have been internationally acclaimed and have almost become the new youth icons. Current sensations like Somdev Devburman and Rohan Bopanna have already earned a reputation for themselves.
Amidst the desi environment of India it was British who pioneered the inception of Tennis. During the British era in India, the British officers ruled the tennis courts in India. It was only in 1908, that an Indian player, Sardar Nihal Singh, played in the courts for the first time. In 1915, Mohammad Saleem became the first Indian tennis champion by winning the Punjab Championship. He dominated the court by the dint of his excellent performance. Saleem continued to win subsequent tournaments till 1926 with his phenomenal game play. Nagu and NS Iyer also left their mark by winning many championships during that time. Players like, Sumant Misra, Man Mohan Lal and Ghouse Mohammed soon followed. Ghouse Mohammed got the honour of carrying the Indian Tennis flag in 1920 and reached the Quarter-finals in Wimbledon Tennis Championship in 1938, the first Indian to do so.
Legendary players like AH Fayzee and AA Fayzee, Krishna Prasad, Cotah Ramaswamy, Ramanathan Krishnan soon followed to fetch national glory. Jaideep Mukherjee and Premjit Lall also proved their skills by reaching Davis Cup finals for three times.
During the 1960s, Ramanathan Krishnan was one of the renowned names in Wimbledon, and achieved great heights by his outstanding feats. Born in 1937, Krishnan, initially known as T R Kannan, started playing tennis when he was just 10 years old, at the Kalkatora stadium, Delhi. He won the Wimbledon junior championship in 1954.He has beaten top class international players like Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Neale Fraser. Ramanathan Krishnan conquered Indian tennis. During the 1960s, he also received the Padma Bhushan and the Arjuna Award.
Vijay Amritraj dominated Indian tennis for almost two years. He was able to reach the Wimbledon Quarter-finals in 1973 and 1981 and also the 1973 and 1974 US Open. In the year of 1980, Amritraj got world no 16 rank. He was also amongst the top ten players in doubles. For 14 years, Vijay Amritraj was the top most players in Asia.
After that, Ramesh Krishnan also showed excellent performances in various international Tennis events and brought glory to India. He was ranked world No.23. Ramesh was also ranked world No 1 in the junior category. Ramesh Krishnan successfully won 13 ATP singles through his brilliant performance.
In the recent times, Leander Paes is considered to be the most successful players in Mixed Doubles and Men`s Doubles categories. In 1991, Paes turned professional. He has won a bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics, in 1996 to become the first Indian in more than 4 decades to win an individual medal in the Olympics. Leander Paes, along with Mahesh Bhupathi, was ranked number 1.
In 1995, Mahesh Bhupathi earned All-America honours in singles and doubles. Mahesh participated in the Indian Davis Cup team from 1995 and was ranked at the top in doubles spot in `99 on ATP rankings. Mahesh Bhupathi won a total of 10 Doubles Grand Slam titles with different partners, something that is considered as one of the best achievements for a Tennis player. In men`s doubles, Bhupathi and his partner Leander Paes, won three titles in the French Open, 1999, Wimbledon 1999 and French Open 2001. Also in 2001, along with Paes, Bhupati received the Padma Shri, India`s highest honour, in New Delhi. Sania Mirza, one of the current tennis sensations, has become a youth icon not only for her contribution to Indian tennis but even for her glamorous charisma, her sense of style and attitude. She has revamped the state of women tennis players in India. In 1999, Mirza beat Michaela Krajicek and Katerina Bohmova, to win her first major international tournament. Sania Mirza has received numerous awards and accolades for her courageous performances. In 2003 Sania won the women`s Grand Slam title and has become a brand herself in the world of sports.
Rohan Bopanna, was ranked world no.13, in 2010 for his stupendous skills. Along with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, Bopanna reached the US Open Final and won the Johannesburg Open. Bopanna and Sania Mirza have performed exceptionally well at the Hopman Cup 2007.
Apart from these legendary and eminent players, there are also several talented and promising Indian Tennis players, who have the potential to become a Tennis legend in the future. Karan Rastogi, Rupesh Roy, Navdeep Singh are few of the upcoming talented tennis players.