While India fondly remembers the contributions of the likes of Leander Paes and the Amritraj brothers, a prominent name often slips the radar. The man who single-handedly spearheaded India’s ingress into dominance on the tennis court was none other than Ramanathan Krishnan.
Despite defeating the likes of Rod Laver, Roy Emerson and Neale Fraser, Krishnan is a name forgotten by many!
Here are reasons why he is perhaps the best tennis player produced by the nation:
Krishnan made his professional debut in 1953, winning the boy’s singles title at the Wimbledon, the very next year. He was the first Asian to do so.
At the peak of his playing career, he was ranked 4th in the world.
He is a 2-time Wimbledon semi-finalist, in 1960 and 1961.
He received the Arjuna Award in 1961, the Padma Shri in 1962 and the Padma Bhushan in 1967, for his contribution to the sport.
He led the Indian team to the Davis Cup final against Australia in 1966.
He was a regular feature in the India Davis Cup team between 1953 and 1975.
He went on to win 50 singles matches in the Davis Cup (which to date, is an Indian record), defeating many top players.
He also held the Indian national tennis title for 8 years at a stretch.
His notable list of achievements stand testimony to the fact that he was the helmsman of the Indian tennis movement and was the sole exponent of tennis in India, back when it was still in its nascent stages.
Let’s raise a toast to this man and his contributions!