(Last Updated on : 16/08/2014)
Vijay Amritraj is considered among the greatest tennis players to have represented India. Born in Chennai in December, 1953, Vijay Amritraj has proudly represented India in various international Tennis events and got significant success. His father's name is Robert Amritraj and his mother is Maggie Dhairyam. He appeared in a Grand Slam event for the firs time in 1970. He and his brother, Anand Amritraj was among the first Indians to play in top-flight international tour Tennis. They together reached the doubles semi-finals of Wimbledon in 1976.
Apart from Doubles, Vijay Amritraj also showed great performances in Singles. He reached the quarter finals of two Grand Slam events in 1973; however he could not go further. He was defeated by the eventual champion of Wimbledon, Jan Kodes in five sets in 1973 and Ken Rosewall defeated him in the same year's U.S. Open. However, he stunned the world in the US Open in 1973, by defeating the Tennis legendary, Rod Laver earlier in the tournament. He once again proved his talent in front of the world of Tennis by beating another Tennis legend, Bjorn Borg at Forest Hills in 1974. After a gap of 7 years, he again reached the quarter finals of a Grand Slam in 1981. However, this time he was defeated by legendary Tennis player, Jimmy Connors in five sets. Amritraj beat Jimmy Connors 5 times in 11 matches.
Though, he had continuously reached the quarter-finals or semi-finals of Grand Slam events on a regular basis, it seemed that Vijay Amritraj was not physically fit enough to win a five-setter match. In fact, his incapability to win the five-setters proved to be the major deterrent in his career. He was a natural grass-court player and his game was more in the chip-and- charge, and serve-and-volley mould. In spite of losing most of the important matches in his career, the competitive spirit of Vijay Amritraj has always won him admirers. After beating the legendary Tennis players like Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg, Amritraj defeated yet another all time Tennis great, John McEnroe at Cincinnati in 1984. He reached his career highest World Ranking of No.16 in men's singles in July, 1984.
Apart from playing extraordinarily in the prestigious Grand Slam tournaments, Vijay Amritraj also gave outstanding performances for India, in the Davis Cup. He was the captain of the Indian Davis Cup team for most of the late 1970s and 1980s. India became successful to reach the finals of Davis Cup in 1974 and 1987, under the able leadership of Vijay Amritraj. He won a do-or-die five set match against Martin Jaite of Argentina, during India's run to the final in 1987. His career Single statistics stood at 384-296, when he retired from professional Tennis. Amritraj won a total of 16 singles titles and 13 doubles title throughout his career and was also awarded the Padma Sri in 1983. However, he still plays Tennis occasionally and reached the finals of the 2008 Wimbledon Sr. Invitation Gentlemen's Doubles, with his partner Gene Mayer. After retiring from Tennis, he shifted focus to the glitz world of movies and entertainment for a while and he acted with Roger Moore in the James Bond film, Octopussy. He also appeared in the famous film named Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and in a large number of television shows. He is a well known sports commentator and successful businessman at present. His son Prakash Amritraj and nephew Stephen Amritraj are also considered as renowned Tennis players of this time.