Most memorable moments of Indian sports – Tennis

Once, I had been trying to find information on the some of the most memorable moments from many of the sports that we play – and I could not find it. So I thought, why not make the effort myself? So here I am, listing some of the memorable events from tennis. The moments are in no particular order. And as I am only putting down five, I am sure I will have to leave out a few moments. And remember, these are the memorable moments not simply the greatest moments. This is a subjective exercise. So rather than criticizing the list, help in enhancing it. More glory to Indian sport.

Leander Paes’ bronze medal effort at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics – The greatest singles effort ever – on the largest stage for all sports – an individual medal after 44 years. This event has no prize money and no ranking points, just national pride and honour. Not surprising that Leander was at his very best.

The run to the Davis Cup final in 1987 – this one stands out for the amazing semi-final victory over the mighty Aussies in Melbourne. We had our opponents on the ropes at 2-0 but they roared back to 2-2. And then, against Wally Masur and a raucous Aussie crowd Ramesh Krishnan guided us home.

The Davis Cup final of 1974 that never was – India reached the final but refused to play against South Africa in protest against their apartheid policies. Was it a missed opportunity to rue forever? No, it was a show of uncompromising opposition to colonialism and racism – anything else would have been an insult to our own struggle for freedom and dignity.

The quarter-final victory over the French in 1993 was another Davis cup moment. Played on red clay – France’s favourite and India’s least favourite surface. The game started on a disastrous note when senior pro, Ramesh Krishnan was thrashed in the opening match. Leander showed indomitable spirit to keep India in the fray and Krishnan returned to win the deciding match in a marathon five setter spread over two days.

Leander and Bhupathi winning the Wimbledon doubles title in 1999 – This victory is probably the greatest moment for the Indian Express (as they were lovingly called before they split up). These guys made all four grand slam finals that year and as long as the Indian Express rolled at full speed it was one heck of a ride for the Indian tennis fan. It’s also a sad reminder of what could have been.

Let me also list some other notable efforts –

The Davis Cup final effort of 1966,
The win over Yugoslavia in the Davis Cup with Leander beating Ivanesevic
Ramesh Krishnan’s win over World number one Mats Wilander at the Australian Open
Ramanathan Krishnan’s semi-final efforts at Wimbledon in 1960 and 1961 and
All of Vijay Amritraj’s near misses – losing in 5 sets to eventual champion Jan Kodes in the Wimbledon quarters of 1973, losing to Jimmy Connors after being two sets up in the Wimbledon quarters in 1981 and losing to Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon in 1979 after leading 4-1 in the fourth and being two sets to one up– a victory in any of those would have surely cracked the top five.

These are some of events which I felt must be noted. If you feel there are any other events which need mention, suggestions will be appreciated.

Avnish Anand

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