(Last Updated on : 06/01/2011)
Tennis is counted among the most popular sports in India for several years. For their excellent performances in the national and international level, the Indian Tennis players have so far received many prestigious awards from the Government of India. The Arjuna Award is probably one of the most prestigious amongst them. India has so far seen a number of Arjuna Awardees in Tennis, since the inception of the year in 1961.
The legendary Indian Tennis player, Ramanathan Krishnan was the first one to win Arjuna Award in 1961. In the next year, Naresh Kumar won the award in the year 1962 and entered his name into the list of Arjuna Awardees in Tennis. Jaidip Mukherjee won the award in 1966 and in 1967; the winner was Premjit Lall. The veteran and one of the most famous Indian Tennis players in the world, Vijay Amritraj won the Arjuna Award in the year 1974. Then, there was a gap of 4 years, for the Tennis players to win the award. In 1978-79, Nirupama Mankad was enlisted to the Arjuna Awardees in Tennis. In the following year, in 1980-81, another legendary Indian Tennis player, Ramesh Krishnan won the award.
However, after Ramesh Krishnan won the Arjuna Award, there was again a gap of 4 years for the Indian Tennis players to win the award. Anand Amritraj got his name counted among the Arjuna Awardees in Tennis, in 1985 and in 1990, Leander Paes received the award. Mahesh Bhupathi won the award in 1995 after another 5 years` gap. The award was given to Gaurav Natekar in the year 1996 and then, Asif Ismail won it in 1997. Akhtar Ali was announced as the winner of Arjuna Award in 2000, and the latest Tennis sensation Sania Mirza has been the last name in the list of Arjuna Awardees in Tennis, so far. She won the Arjuna Award in the year 2004.