The Rise of Indian Tennis: A Look Back at Legendary Players

published: Mar, 31, 2023

by: TC Staff


Over the past few decades, tennis in India has seen a huge surge in 1xBet popularity and the number of sports betting and winnings is growing. International icons like Leander Paes, Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi have become known throughout the country – even more famous than some of the most prominent cricketers!

The three superstars are just the tip of an iceberg though; Indian tennis history is littered with incredible figures who have helped shape this incredible sport for future generations to come. To honor that legacy, here’s a list of some of India’s greatest ever tennis stars!

Ramanathan Krishnan

Almost a decade after India’s independence, the 1960s saw Indian tennis begin to gain recognition in international tournaments – thanks largely to Ramanathan Krishnan. This Tamil Nadu-born athlete became the first Asian winner of Wimbledon’s boys singles title in 1954 by besting Ashley Cooper who went on to clinch four Grand Slam titles. Although his senior career did not reach similar heights, Ramanathan was nonetheless consistent at major platforms and effectively helped establish India as an undeniable player in global tennis domains.

Ramanathan Krishnan achieved remarkable success on the professional tennis court, twice earning a spot in the Wimbledon semi-finals and securing quarter-final appearances at both the French Open and Wimbledon doubles events.

Additionally, he had an impressive career with India’s Davis Cup team where his efforts culminated as runner up during 1966 edition of The World Team Tennis Championships

Ramanathan Krishnan did many amazing things in his career. He won against Rod Laver and Roy Emerson, two of the best players at the time. His most impressive feat was in 1966 when he and Jaidip Mukerjea beat John Newcombe and Tony Roche to win India’s first-ever Davis Cup title.

Vijay Amritraj

After Ramanathan Krishnan hung up his racquet, the Indian tennis baton was passed to Vijay Amritraj. He achieved four Grand Slam singles quarter-finals – two at Wimbledon (1973 & 1981) and two at the US Open (1973 & 1974). He won 15 tennis titles when he played by himself. He beat some very famous people like John McEnroe and Björn Borg! His success inspired others to do their best in tennis too!

Vijay got 13 more ATP titles when he joined his brother Anand Amritraj. Together they almost made it to the finals of Wimbledon in 1976. They also helped India go to the finals of Davis Cup two times – once in 1974 and once in 1987.

Ramesh Krishnan

Mirroring his father’s path, Ramesh Krishnan, the son of Ramanathan also achieved success in tennis. He won the Wimbledon Boys title and French Open Junior championship in 1979. During his career in professional tennis, he earned 8 ATP singles titles and reached a remarkable 3 Grand Slam quarter-finals at Wimbledon 1986, US Open 1981 & 1987 respectively.

In 1986, an Indian tennis player beat a young Andre Agassi in the final to win an ATP Challenger title in Schenectady, USA.

He was also part of India’s team that went to the Davis Cup finals in 1987. For this, he was given the Padma Shri award 10 years later.

With only one year remaining until his retirement, Ramesh Krishnan partnered with the budding Leander Paes in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and made it to the quarter-finals of men’s doubles. It was clear that this moment had been crucial for laying down a foundation for what would come soon after.

Leander Paes

Leander Paes was a professional tennis player since 1991. In 1996, he became the first Indian to win an Olympic medal in singles. He got a bronze medal in Atlanta and beat Brazilian player Fernando Meligeni. This made him one of India’s best athletes ever!

Leander Paes is known for his success in singles matches, but he is also one of the greatest doubles players ever in tennis.

He is without doubt destined for a place among the greats of world tennis. Indeed, throughout his career he won eight Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles at Wimbledon (1999), French Open (1999, 2001 and 2009), Australian Open (2012) and US Open (2006, 2009 and 2013).

Leander Paes is highly decorated in mixed doubles tennis, having won the Wimbledon four times, the Australian Open three times, US Open twice and French Open once. His extrodinary talent rocketed him to be regarded as No. 1 doubles tennis player in 1999 and he holds an unsurpassable record of most Davis Cup wins.

Mahesh Bhupathi

Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes were a tennis dream team for most of the latter’s early career, but it was Bhupathi who made history in Indian tennis. He became the first ever Indian to win a Grand Slam when he claimed victory at 1997 French Open mixed doubles title with his partner from Japan – Rika Hiraki. His impressive performance still stands as an inspiration today!

Mahesh Bhupathi worked with his partner Leander Paes and they won three Grand Slams together in 1999, 2000, and 2001.

Mahesh also won the US Open doubles title with Max Mirnyi in 2002. He then went on to win eight mixed doubles Grand Slams, meaning he won two of each major tournament.

At the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes barely missed out on a doubles bronze medal. Although they made it to the semi-finals stage, their match against Mario An?i? and Ivan Ljubi?i? of Croatia ended with disappointment. Nevertheless, their efforts were rewarded six years later at the 2010 Commonwealth Games when they emerged triumphant as bronze medallists together!

Rohan Bopanna

Rohan Bopanna is a famous tennis player from India. He won a Grand Slam with his partner Gabriela Dabrowski at the French Open. At the Rio Olympics, Rohan and Sania Mirza got to the semi-finals but did not win a medal.

Sania Mirza

Following Nirupama Sanjeev’s historic win at the 1998 Australian Open, which marked her as India’s first ever female tennis player to prevail in a Grand Slam match, Indian women had little cause for celebration within upper-echelon of competitive tennis. That all changed when Sania Mirza burst onto the scene – she has gone on to create an incredible legacy that is sure to leave its mark on generations of aspiring athletes!

In 2005, Sania Mirza did something special. She was the first Indian woman to win a tennis tournament called the Hyderabad Open. This made history!

Additionally, she is still the only Indian woman who has ever won a WTA single event! In 2009, this athlete did something amazing. They and Mahesh Bhupathi became the first Indians to win a Grand Slam at the Australian Open in mixed doubles. Two years later they repeated their success by garnering another victory at The French Open.

In 2014, Sania Mirza made history by winning her third mixed doubles Slam with Bruno Soares. The next year, she teamed up with Martina Hingis and people called them Santina. They won 44 games in a row and got three Grand Slam titles – Wimbledon 2015, US Open 2015 and French Open 2016.

Sania was the first Indian woman to be No. 1 on the WTA doubles rankings!

Sania Mirza has won Grand Slam titles and holds the record for 42 WTA doubles championships. We should also remember players from the past like Zeeshan Ali, Somdev Devvarman, Jasjit Singh and more for their work in tennis. Sumit Nagal is doing well and Ramkumar Ramanathan is improving too. Plus, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ankita Raina are helping India’s future with tennis look very good!

TC Staff

Bringing you daily updates from the world of tennis.

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