He fulfilled every norm that defines a professional. An amalgam of patience, perspective and persuasive proficiency enlarged his persona as an outstanding administrator.
Small wonder, the tennis community feels orphaned by the demise of P. L. Reddy, former Secretary of AITA (1984-88) and TNTA, on February 28. As player, counsellor and as one who epitomised the qualities of a gentleman, PL was loved by everyone.
Hailing from Yalayapalem (Nellore), PL pursued sport with a missionary zeal. Attracted initially to volleyball and soccer at the V.R. High School, Nellore, he succumbed to the charm of tennis. A course in mathematics at the Madras Christian College (Selayur Hall) and a post graduate study in the UK, added polish to his personality. His administrative acumen was fine tuned from his association with the British Managed Parry & Company in 1950.
PL’s career was confined to city clubs and national competitions. He was a prominent member of the MGC- he joined the club in 1951- in the inter-club championships.
As Vice-President of International Lawn Tennis Club, PL maintained contacts with legendary stars like Henri Cochet, Jean Barotra and Rod Laver. He was instrumental in bringing them to the MGC here.
As Secretary of TNTA and AITA, PL succeeded in giving the administration a new dimension.
“I’ve dealt with administrators for over six and half decades, even during the time of Ramesh Krishnan. Without hesitation, I will say, he was the best,” observed maestro, R. Krishnan.
“He was a true friend for every tennis player, regardless of their age. During his period everything was smooth sailing in the AITA because he was a player himself.,”
“PL was a man of great character and stature. He was lover of sports but passionate about tennis,” writes Vijay Amritraj, who has spent the best part his Davis Cup career with PL.
Vijay adds, “As a skilled administrator and diplomat, his tenure at the AITA was one of the most successful ever.
As non-playing captain of the Indian Davis Cup team during his term with AITA, our close relationship translated into major wins for India. He was always concerned about the welfare of the players, our mental frame of mind and kept us relaxed to perform at our best.
He did everything possible to make the entire team as one family, one unit. And as manager he did much more than was expected of him. He had great inspirational qualities that constantly helped the team and players making us believe that we could beat anyone anywhere.
The India-Australia Davis Cup tie in 1987 was the highlight of an amazing year under PL when we beat the mighty Australians in Sydney, which had not happened in 50 years. It was an honour and a privilege to have worked with him. But it was a blessing too to have had him as a close and trusted friend throughout my career. His service to Indian tennis will always be the highlight of the last three decades.”
Anand Amritraj, the eldest of the brothers, writing from US, describes PL as a great a friend of the family. “He was a wonderful man and a great Davis Cup manager. He was a complete gentleman with a smile, a kind word.”