BANGALORE: In Premjit Lall’s death, India has lost an illustrious player, who was a gentleman to the core and who took keen interest in helping fellow players during his prime, said Krishna Bhupathi, coach and father of Mahesh Bhupathi, and who was also a contemporary of Premjit Lall.
Bhupathi Sr., in a chat with The Hindu said: “My association with Premjit goes back 45 years. He was one player, who was loved by one and all and we are bound to miss him a lot.”
Mr. Bhupathi said, “Premjit’s endearing quality was his tendency to help fellow players. I remember the days, when he used to put his own money to get us entries in international tournaments.
“The epic contest against Rod Laver in 1969 Wimbledon, where he lost in five sets after winning the first two, was one of the best matches that he had ever played. With his good looks, he was such a rage at Wimbledon at one time and was always mobbed by English female fans.
“I think apart from Bjorn Borg in the later years, Premjit was the only player provided with police escorts during Wimbledon. He was shy and used to go red in face with all the female attention.”
Mr. Bhupathi further added: “As a player, he played the copybook style and it was easy for others to read his game, but he was someone worth watching.”
Mr. Bhupathi also recalled with some satisfaction that he was able to help Premjit Lall in time of need. “During the WTA event in Hyderabad (2005) we were able to raise some substantial funds for him and that was a matter of satisfaction for me personally, as he was one of the icons of Indian tennis and a great friend.” — Special Correspondent