A Tennis Hero from an age bygone

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It is early December in  the year 1966.  Post independence Calcutta in India is a burgeoning metropolis. The lush green South Club lawn courts of Calcutta in Woodburn Park Road, known as the cradle of tennis  in India, was the host of the singles decider in the Davis Cup semifinals between India and Brazil.

Krish, approaching his 30th birthday, is up against a young 21 year old from Brazil, Thomas Koch. An epic marathon is unfolding between the two, already. The days of the set tie-break were yet to arrive and the third set had resulted in a  12-10 win for Koch the prior day, when bad light had halted play, with Koch up 2 sets to 1.

A new day in Calcutta, didn’t seem to bring new tidings for Krish as the score read 2-5 in the 4th set. But what happened next will remain etched as one of highlights of the Golden period of Indian Tennis, as Krish fought back to win the 4th set and seal the 5th , to take India to the Finals in Australia by sheer will.

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The will of a champion of an age bygone triumphed that day, stoked the embers of Indian tennis and gave life to the next generation.

Some of Krish’s achievements,

  • twice a semifinalist at Wimbledon
  • held a highest ranking of 6th in the world in singles in 1961
  • first Asian player to win the boy’s singles title at Wimbledon
  • defeated world renowned players of the time, such as Rod Laver and Roy Emerson in singles
  • defeated the world class doubles pair of John Newcombe/Tony Roche in the 1966 Davis Cup finals (partnered with Jaideep Mukherjea)

Some learnings from Krish,

  1. There is no shortcut to success. It takes anything from 5 to 10 years to make a good tennis player. It is not enough that  you play the game, a lot depends on physical and mental condition. This is developed by rigorous training all the time.
  2. The whole game revolves around a good service. Without a strong service, you cannot win against the best.
  3. Take defeat with  a smile and move on.

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Learn more about Krish here,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramanathan_Krishnan

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