Vijay Amritraj

5 Jul

Vijay Amritraj is a legendary Indian tennis player and one of my sporting heroes. I would like to share this two part interview shot few years ago. This nice interview details Vijay’s journey as Asia’s best tennis player for many years.

Vijay Amritraj’s accomplishment is much more than of a player , a well known and much respected commentator, president of ATP council , acting stints most notably in “Octopussy” Bond movie and a charitable foundation. A remarkable personable man with a remarkable life. A brief bio from a talk show hosted by Vijay :

My memories of Vijay Amritraj, was watching on television a remarkable five set win over Martin Jaite of Argentina to take India to Davis cup finals in 1987 πŸ™‚

I love listening to Vijay Amritraj , watch Wimbledon and US open broadcasts on ESPN as much for tennis matches as for listening to Vijay πŸ™‚ I believe he has a rare light ( call it presence or charisma) ,humility and speaks beautifully.

In this first part interview Vijay talks about going to Wimbledon as a 15 year old to watch his idol Pancho Gonzales play. Vijay also talks about his initiation into tennis first from maternal grandmother side, then from his mother, a state level tennis player primarily because he was unhealthy as a child and a doctor advised to play a outdoor sport, since family sport was tennis, was natural initiation.

Vijay credits his mother for everything family has achieved for instilling ability of hard work and rest would take care of themselves. I remember reading about his mom in my growing years as they had set up a tennis academy ( BAT) to nurture tennis talent and his mom was helm at affairs.

Vijay talks about his journey from playing junior tournaments in Europe in 1969, going to America first time in 1972 and to being in top ten in 1973 πŸ™‚

He says something wonderfully nice in response to a question ” You have no idea what life holds for you, having the life I have had. I truly believe impossible is nothing. It can be achieved. Every boy and girl of any caliber and any walk of social life should have the ability to dream and dream big. Dreams in fact do come true.”

Vijay was a great player and could have been a Wimbledon champion , having twice lost to eventual winners in quarterfinals in 1973 and 1981 πŸ™‚

Hope you like this delightful interview of a wonderful man , would post the second part soon πŸ™‚ Thank you!


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