Former India No.1 and tennis ace Nirupama Vaidyanathan’s autobiographical account ‘The Moon Baller’ was released at a function held at the Madras Cricket Club here on Monday.
The book, which goes back in time to chronicle the times when professional tennis for Indian women was quite unheard of, was launched by tennis legend Vijay Amritraj in the presence of Nirmal Shekar, Sports Editor, The Hindu.
“When I started writing this book, I realised that it would be unique in many ways. Not just because of the tennis part, but also due to the many aspects in the book that everybody can relate to like society, travel, money etc,” said Nirupama.
The harsh life
Recalling how difficult the harsh life of a tennis professional in Europe can be, Nirupama said, “Living and travelling alone in Europe made me much stronger as a person and taught a lot about the game as well. I had to play on different surfaces at different locations and differing altitudes. It groomed me as a tennis player.”
She also thanked her parents, especially her father, for his “single-minded vision to get her into the world professional of tennis.”
Commending Nirupama for her effort of writing the book, Shekar said, “Just to talk about the struggle of how to get a champion in place, to keep going despite the hurdles and to make it familiar to today’s youngsters so that they are inspired, it’s very important for somebody like Nirupama to come up with this.”
At the 1998 Australian Open, Nirupama became the first Indian woman to win a round at a Grand Slam.
Mr. Shekar picked this as one of the top ten moments in his career as a journalist. “For an esteemed sports writer like Bud Collins to write about Nirupama in 1998 was something very special,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Amritraj said, “Knowing how difficult it is in India for any athlete in any sport to do well, for Nirupama to come up and spearhead an era of women coming up and excelling in sports, be it a Sania Mirza or a Saina Nehwal and many others was great.”
The book is published by Konark.