Tennis has always been a sport for the elite, and the game has also made its impact in India with the likes of Ramanathan Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan, and Vijay Amritraj, who took to the tennis court at International level and inspired millions of Indians to play the sport.
Though Ramanathan Krishnan achieved a career-high ranking of World No.6 in the world, a grand slam title in singles has been far from a dream for the Indians as a significant success always eluded the Indians. However, with the growing competition, some Indians have managed to shock the world with their game at the grand slam tournaments. Here’s a look at all the Indian tennis players who shocked the world at the grand slam events.
5. Somdev Devvarman
Somdev Devvarman grabbed the spotlight after defeating Janowicz to qualify for his first Grand Slam singles main draw at the US Open 2009. He then got the better of Frederico Gil in the first round before losing to the 24th seed Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. Devvarman became the first Indian in the main draw of a Grand Slam event since Prakash Amritraj in 2002.
Somdev Devvarman once again qualified for the main draw of a major event at the Wimbledon Championships 2011. He lost to the 18th seed Mikhail Youzhny in the second round of the Championships. Somdev Devvarman recovered from his injuries and once again raised the hopes of Indian fans as he advanced to the second round of the Australian Open 2013 defeating World No.78 Bjorn Phau before succumbing to World No. 24 Jerzy Janowicz after squandering a two-set lead. Devvarman then also reach the second round of the 2013 French Open and 2013 US Open.
4. Sumit Nagal
Rising Indian tennis star Sumit Nagal caught the eyes of the world after he qualified to make his grand slam debut at the US Open 2019. He faced Roger Federer in his opening round match.
Though he lost the match but managed to take first set against the 20-time grand slam champion and inspired many Indians all over the world after clinching a fiery set against the greatest player of all time, Federer also praised Nagal that he has the capability to finish at the top in a grand slam tournament.
3. Vijay Amritraj
The Indian legend has always kept the Indian flag flying hard on the tennis court. Amritraj is one of the few Indians to make a statement at a grand slam tournament. Amritraj has managed to get the better of some of the legends like Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, and John McEnroe.
Vijay Amritraj got a breakthrough in 1973 when he reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon Championships and the US Open and caught the eye of the Indian fans all over the world. Amritraj lost to the eventual champion Jan Kodes in a thrilling five-setter in the last 8 of the Wimbledon and was defeated by tennis legend Ken Rosewall in the quarterfinals of the US Open. He then reached the third round of the French Open 1974 before shocking the world by upsetting Bjorn Borg in the second round of the US Open 1974 before losing to Rosewell in the quarterfinals.
He saw a defeat in the 2nd round of Wimbledon in 1979 against defending champion Borg after being up two sets to one and leading 4–1 in the fourth set. In 1981, Vijay Amritraj reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon Championships when he again squandered a comfortable lead and lost in five games to Jimmy Connors after being up 2-0.
2. Ramesh Krishnan
Ramesh Krishnan inspired millions of Indians during his success in the 1980s. He reached the quarterfinals of the US Open twice in 1981 and 1987 and also reached the quarterfinals of the Wimbledon Championships once in 1986.
Ramesh Krishnan is the most successful and consistent Indian player at the Australian Open, reaching the third round of the major event in Melbourne five times in 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988, and 1989 but could never go past the third round. Krishnan also reached the third round of the French Open in 1982. Krishnan has consistently generated hopes in the mind of Indians as he had the capability to win a slam but failed to do so.
1. Ramanathan Krishnan
Ramanathan Krishnan has been the most successful Indian tennis player so far. He was among the world’s leading players in the 1950s and 1960s. Krishnan has achieved the best record by any Indian at the grand slam tournaments. He twice reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon championships in his career.
Seeded seventh at the 1960 Wimbledon Championships, Ramanathan Krishnan reached the last four of the prestigious event, where he lost to the eventual champion Neale Fraser. Next year, he again entered the semifinals at the All England Lawn Tennis Club after defeating the great Roy Emerson in straight sets but once again lost to the eventual champion Rod Laver in the semifinals.
His best results at the French Open came in 1962 when he reached the quarterfinals while he has twice reached the third round at the US Open in 1957 and 1959 but could not go past it.