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Friday, September 7, 2012

Indians cannot win in Singles in Tennis

Tennis is a game that is fairly popular in India. Introduced by the English rulers the game has a fair following. Slightly elitist, the game is still played in almost all clubs and colleges. Despite the reasonable popularity of the game there is one jarring aspect that stands out. Though the Indians have produced a string of doubles champions, there is hardly a player of international stature in singles. Indians have won many double titles, but I can’t recollect an Indian winning a singles grand slam title like Wimbledon in the last 70 years. This is certainly food for thought and one wonders why this should be so. A look at the Indian greats of tennis shows that only one player Ramanath Krishnan made it twice to the semi-finals at Wimbledon. On both counts he lost to the man who went on to win the title. Krishnan was a man who perfected the ‘touch artist’ game, but I do not think he won any grand slam singles title.
We had some good players coming in. There were the Amriitraj brothers Vijay and Anand, the son of Ramanath Krishnan, Ramesh Krishnan nd now we have Laender Paes and Mahesh and Bopanna. However a look at their careers shows that they are good doubles players but a singles title has eluded them. What could be the reason? In doubles and mixed doubles many of these players have won grand slam titles and even now Leander Paes is a finalist in the mixed doubles at Wimbledon.
The fact is that a singles game is very demanding and requires a great degree of fitness. This is where the Indian players chicken out. I can only say that lack of physical fitness in comparison to the greats of tennis like Rod laver, Rosewall, Connors, Agassi and others the Indians don’t stand anywhere. There were cases when Vijay Amritraj led in the singles in many a match against the greats of tennis only to lose in the end as he perhaps lacked stamina. Technique wise they may be good, but winning in singles is something that has eluded an Indian for too long. One wonders when it will change.