With Novak Djokovic leveling Nadal and Federer’s Grand Slam record with 20 titles, the tennis conversations on Sunday were all about the legacy of these men and the future of the game after they retire.
Well, as of now, the future seems to be in good hands. And an Indian may contribute to it.
We are talking about Samir Banerjee, the Indian-origin American player, who won his first Grand Slam junior title at Wimbledon.
This was the 17-year-old’s second Grand Slam appearance after this year’s French Open where he lost in the first round.
Let’s have a look at his roots: Samir’s father belongs to Assam and his mother, to Andhra Pradesh. Both of them migrated to the US in the 80s and settled there.
And while Samir is representing America, he has insane support from India, many of whom thronged the stadium to see him play. Samir touched upon the same in an interview given to The Indian Express:
Just looking into the crowd, there were a lot of Indians there, supporting me a lot. I really appreciated that. Some were shouting very loudly, some asked me for photographs afterwards. I’m obviously not from India, I’m American. But having Indian relatives and parents, it makes me appreciate the culture and everything that goes with it.
Even on the internet, Indians couldn’t stop praising the young champion from New Jersey, and here are a few examples.
SAMIR BANERJEE MARCHES INTO WIMBLEDON BOYS FINAL— Indian Tennis Daily (@IndTennisDaily) July 10, 2021
17 yr old Samir continued his giant killing run to storm into the finals with a 3-set win over Sascha Gueymard Wayenburg (FRA, 36) 76 46 62. Big run from the Bengali boy who has set the ITF Jr circuit on fire over the past year. pic.twitter.com/VdslCdC7S0
Since we don’t have much to cheer about in world tennis, let’s enjoy the vicarious pleasure of hailing an Indian-American win! Samir Banerjee of New Jersey wins the Wimbledon Boys’ Singles Final [defeating a Russian-American]: https://t.co/WFTbC9VaKm— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) July 11, 2021
Samir Banerjee, an Indian American (a bengali from Assam) has won the Wimbledon boys title. First Indian to do so after Leander Paes.— Kaustav Chatterjee (@kaustav7947) July 11, 2021
Junior Champion on grass has his roots in India!— Hardeep Singh Puri (@HardeepSPuri) July 12, 2021
Samir Banerjee does us proud by lifting the Wimbledon boys’ singles title.
Way to go!#Wimbledon2021 #SamirBanerjee pic.twitter.com/OgChpjcZLD
Samir Banerjee is a serious talent. Just watch some of his shots. #Wimbledon— Boria Majumdar (@BoriaMajumdar) July 10, 2021
The four Indians who have won Junior Grand Slam titles before Samir are: Yuki Bhambri at Australian Open 2009, Leander Paes at Wimbledon, 1990 and the US Open, 1991, Ramesh Krishnan at French Open and Wimbledon 1979 and Ramanathan Krishnan at Wimbledon 1954.
For now, Samir is looking to join college and has to decide what he wants to do with his career. We hope he succeeds in whatever he chooses to do.