the-south-asian Life & Times                       July-Sep 2011




Editor's Note



Team India Heads
 for Argentina


  Vijay Amritraj


 Indian Military
 Academy - A World
 Class Institution

 Lt Gen R S Sujlana -    A Conversation

  Royals in Uniform 
 - A Photo feature

Dinkar Kowshik

 Trisul 1951
 Modern Indian

 60 Years of Indian


 Golden Chariot's
 'Pride of the South'
 - 5-Star Time Travel
 Thru Karnataka













   about us              back-issues           contact us         search             data bank


  craft shop

print gallery

A conversation with Vijay Amritraj

By Scoop Malinowski

  June 28, 2011. Day Eight at Wimbledon and action was unfolding in SW19.  Court Six was bursting at the seams. Crowds had packed in to watch Jeremy Bates and Anders Jarryd take on Vijay Amritraj and John Fitzgerald. It was the senior men's invitational doubles match. It was the day after the dramatic 'Meltdown Monday' - when Serena and Venus were out of the tournament, and so was the No1 seed Caroline Wozniacki.

Back to Court Six. Bates and Jarryd beat Amritraj and Fitzgerald 6-2, 6-2. The crowds had opted to watch this match and not some top-level tennis on other nearby courts – needless to say, in order to see a 49-year-old former journeyman pro win an invitational fixture. But Amritraj was just as magnetic a draw. For the 57-year-old Indian it was his 41st Wimbledon this year! He first
played on the fabled courts during the Junior Championships in 1971.

Vijay’s worldly shots, wit, friendly disposition, gracious court manners, and luminous smile have charmed crowds and disarmed opponents in his 40 years on world’s top tennis courts. He is the endearing face of Indian tennis. A gracious player and a popular commentator, his English more Californian than his Tamil roots, he is the Lead Anchor and Host of ESPN Star Sports for Wimbledon, US Open as well as PGA events - one of the most recognizable faces and figures in the world of high profile sports. Two generations of sport-lovers have grown up watching him play and now as a TV host.

Introduced to tennis at the age of 9, Vijay wanted to become the best badminton player in India, but arrived in Wimbledon as a 17-year-old for the Junior Championships in1971.

Vijay Amritraj was a 19-year-old from Madras, India when he reached the quarterfinals at both Wimbledon and Forest Hills the summer of 1973. “It was not until his U.S. Open victory over Laver in a three-hour battle on national TV that tennis followers began to look upon him with the same sense of discovery and excitement that they have accorded young Connors and Borg. As soon as Forest Hills found out who Vijay was and learned to distinguish him from his brother Anand, it could not get enough of him.”

Vijay Amritraj has played against the world’s best - Laver, Rosewall, Borg, McEnroe, Lendl, Becker, and  competed against Newcombe and Ashe and Smith. “Amritraj never reached a Grand Slam final. But he did ambush Rod Laver at the United States Open in 1973 and he did bushwhack John McEnroe in the final in Cincinnati in 1984 and he did outflash Yannick Noah at Centre Court in Wimbledon in 1985.” So wrote George Vecsey.

In 1987, he led his nation past the Soviet Union, Argentina, Israel and Australia to reach the finals of the Davis Cup.

 He retired from professional tennis in 1993.

Read the entire article in the print copy of
The South Asian Life & Times






Copyright © 2000 - 2011 []. Intellectual Property. All rights reserved.