YOUNG WORLD

Courting glory

PAROMITA PAIN

Winner all the way...

Winner all the way...  

Ramesh Krishnan, who epitomised the notion of the gentleman on the field, is the hero of many a Davis Cup wins for the country. He came into the field with the Amritraj brothers, Sashi Menon and Gaurav Mishra in 1981 when India maintained its winning form in the Davis Cup ties. He helped establish India as an important tennis-playing nation. In 1998 he was awarded the Padma Shree. With his father, Ramanathan Krishnan, the tennis maestro runs the Krishnan Tennis Academy in Chennai, which has been producing some top class junior talent like the National Grass Court champion, Manoj Mahadevan. The beginnings

I was born in Thanjavur. I lived in a joint family. I remember spending a lot of time with my grandparents and cousins. I was interested in all kinds of games — from cards, to cricket, to marbles to board games and hide and seek, I took part in all of them. The biggest thing I have learnt from my family is discipline. This was inculcated from a very young age. While we still live in the same house, plenty has changed in our neighbourhood. A lot of the kids I grew up with have moved away.

School days

I studied in Vidya Mandir, Mylapore. My school was very supportive of my efforts in tennis and played a very positive role. All the teachers were very considerate and gave me special attention as I missed a lot of classes due to travelling for tournaments. I was quite fond of Mathematics. I was a student of Sanskrit and still try to keep up as much as I can. I was an above average student and this was good considering all those missed classes. Also, excellent support both from home and school was very helpful. I still keep in touch with a lot of my school friends and we meet on a regular basis. Though I did finish college, by then, I was seriously into tennis.

Golden years

Tennis was a big part of my family. I am the third generation to play this sport actively. When I was growing up, even the women in the family would play tennis, something quite unique in the 1960's. As such, our whole life revolved around a tennis court. My earliest influences were my grandfather and father. Both were very keen I play tennis. I have been the top ranked player in India and have represented my country in Davis Cup matches from 1977 to 1993. At present, I am the captain of the team. As a player, I helped India reach the final of Davis Cup in 1987 and the semi final in 1993. In individual play, I have reached the quarterfinal stage at both the Wimbledon and the U.S. Open championships. I have defeated several of the top ranked players in the world like Jimmy Connors, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg.

Telling how it is

A wide variety of factors like ability backed by discipline, motivation, commitment, a supportive family, all contribute to making a good player. During our days, we were into tennis because of family support. Now, the base has widened with associations and tennis academies pitching in. The number of players has grown and so have the demands. Today's kids are a lot more under pressure to prove themselves. We, on the other hand, simply enjoyed playing.

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