Tennis – Ramesh Krishnan

Ramesh Krishnan

THE scene at the White City stadium in Sydney on that lovely October day in 1987 will never be forgotten by those who were witness to it. India had just made history by beating Australia 3-2 in the Davis Cup semi-final. Ramesh Krishnan, the hero of the hour after beating Wally Masur in the deciding fifth match, was being chaired by the other members of the Indian team.

Moments later, the celebration shifted to the Indian dressing rooms. Anand Amritraj emptied huge bottles of champagne on everybody present. Even as several members of he Indian camp drowned themselves in unrecapturable joy, the man ho had authored the unprecedented climax was slowly moving way from the scene of action.

Ramesh Krishnan, in what was perhaps the greatest moment of his tennis career, wanted to be alone. He wanted to savour the moment all by himself. That was understandable. For, right then, the enormity of his achievement had not sunk in.

However, even long after the triumph was brought up on that lovely afternoon, nothing seemed to have changed with Ramesh. As one after another, including the then reigning Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, walked up to congratulate him, Ramesh would just flash the impish half-smile.

A little distance away, in the colonial club-house at the stadium, an Australian TV commentator asked this writer. “Is he (Ramesh) like this all the time. He doesn’t get terribly excited, does he? God, he just turned the tennis world upside down… and look at him. It is as if he has won just another match.”

But, then, the world of sport is often the last place where you can find such equanimity in men and women. Most sports stars, especially the successful ones, are given to emotional extremes and they often react in strange, funny and even bizarre ways to success and defeat.

Ramesh has always been an exception. It is not as if the talented son of the great Ramanathan Krishnan doesn’t have a sense of occasion. Far from it. It is just that Ramesh is neither vain-glorious nor a compulsive showman as many of our top stars are today.

In an age when it is fashionable for the heroes of the l-Me generation to call attention to themselves all the time, Ramesh is very much old fashioned and almost self-effacing. There is a touch of class not only to his tennis but also in his outlook to life and his attitudes.

Sometimes such an attitude makes people think that Ramesh is an unexciting personality who just goes about his work like a robot. An example is the Australian TV man who spoke to this writer in Sydney four years ago. Actually, you would be far off the mark if you thought that Ramesh was robotic.

The 29-year-old Indian Davis Cup star has a lively sense of humour and is very much a man of the world. He is much more aware ofthings outside tennis and the world in which he lives than most of the top stars of the day, who seldom know anything outside of the love-all game.

You can say that Ramesh’s attitude to life and living is, in a way, inherited. His famous father, once ranked among the five best players in the world and a man who was a Wimbledon semi-finalist in 1960 and 1961, was also a model professional like Ramesh.

Then again, Ramesh spent more time with his disciplinarian grandfather T. K. Ramanathan than with his father in his early years. And maybe it was his grandfather, who passed away last year, who helped mould Ramesh’s character.

This is the reason why there are many great winners in the game who often end up as losers in a broader sense. But Ramesh, whatever he has achieved and whatever he has not on the courts, will always be a winner in life. This, simply because he is a good human being first, and tennis player next.

Of course, his achievements on the circuit are quite extraordinary. In the last 11 years on the circuit, he has always finished in the top 100. His highest ranking was 23 (January25, 1985) and he has so far won eight international titles.

Apart from piloting India to the Davis Cup final in 1987, Ramesh will count among his proud moments the quarterfinal entry at Wimbledon in 1986. He is also a two-time quarterfinalist at the U.S. Open (1981 and1987). His most sensational circuit victory came at the 1989 Australian Open when he beat the top seed and the world No. 1 Mats Wilander.

One of the game’s most stylish shotmakers, Ramesh launched himself into the pro circuit successfully after becoming the No. 1 junior in the world in 1979, when he won both the French and Wimbledon junior titles.

Now, approaching age 30 (born June 5, 1961), Ramesh is not only back in the Indian Davis Cup team after a two year gap, but the veteran pro has also hinted at the possibility of giving something back to the game in India once he quits the game as a player.

Ref : The Hindu

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