In a cricket-plagued country like India, tennis has established itself to witness a rather long history. If talking about tennis, it suffices to say how the oldest and most traditional tournament, Wimbledon represents the pinnacle of sporty sophistication. Dating back since 1877, the tournament is an age-old event that involves on-court rivalries, dubious outcomes and copious amounts of grunting.
Ask any Indian tennis player, and you will become aware that there is no better feeling than making a name for yourself at a tournament of epic proportions. Wimbledon is just that! The first time that Indians participated at Wimbledon was in the year 1908, decades even before the country gained its Independence.
The 111 years of Indians at the most prestigious among tennis Grand Slam events provide reams of material to debate which five Wimbledon victories were the greatest of all time. Greatness, undoubtedly, results from a combination of excitement, tennis excellence, tight competition and memorable moments. In a similar vein, The Bridge has listed down the top five victories at Wimbledon by Indians that will hit you in the feels — and they all deserve to be applauded.
#5 Ramesh Krishnan (1979)
We are all aware that the Krishnans are best in not just tracking the Wimbledon for long years, but also excelling in it. Hailing from Madras, Ramesh Krishnan's long list of achievements on court are no less significant or memorable as compared to any other player in his era. However, despite not making it to a Grand Slam final all throughout his long illustrious career, Krishnan has added eight singles titles to his name.
Ramesh Krishnan | Source: Sportskeeda
In 1979, Ramesh became the junior Wimbledon champion defeating David Siegler, 6-0 6-2 in the final. Only seven years after becoming a junior champion, he reached the fourth round at Wimbledon, where he was defeated by Eric Jelen of Germany.
#4 Sumit Nagal (2015)
Youngster Sumit Nagal created a history after becoming the sixth Indian to win a Grand Slam junior title after winning the boys doubles trophy at the Wimbledon Championships with partner Nam Hoang Ly in July, 2015.
Nagal, then 17, along with his eighth seed Vietnamese partner overcame the fourth-seed partners Reilly Opelka and Akira Santillan 7-6(4) 6-4 in the title clash in what lasted about 63 minutes.
#3 Sania Mirza-Martina Hingis (2015)
Sania Mirza and Martina Hingis pulverised the second-seeded Russian pair of Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova 5-7, 7-6(4), 7-5 in 2015 to win the women's doubles title at Wimbledon, in what was their first Grand Slam title as a team.
The victory was the first title at The All England Club for Sania, and the first Wimbledon title for Hingis since winning the ladies' singles title in 1997, and her fourth Wimbledon title overall.
Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza | Source: CNN
This was the fourth title for Sania and Hingis, who paired up together earlier that year in March. They won the Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami as well as the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, in the United States.
#2 Leander Paes-Mahesh Bhupathi (1999)
Much of India's romance with Wimbledon trophies started in 1999, when Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi followed up on their maiden Grand Slam triumph at the French Open, by beating Paul Haarhuis of the Netherlands and Jared Palmer of the US, 6-7(10), 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(4) in the final.
“Professionally, winning the Wimbledon final was the most memorable match in my life as far as doubles is concerned,’’ Mahesh was quoted as saying. The year 1999 was a special one for Indian tennis and its fans alike, for it saw the high of Leander and Bhupathi becoming the first Indian pair to win a Grand Slam.
#1 Ramanathan Krishnan (1954)
Ramanathan Krishnan reached the Wimbledon semi-finals twice in 1960 and 1961 and attained a career-high ranking of World No 6. Born in 1937 in a small village of Tenkasi in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu, Krishnan is arguably considered India’s best-ever tennis player.
Ramanathan Krishnan | Source: The Teenager Today Magazine
One of his remarkable feats remains etched in the grasscourt of England when in 1954, a 17-yr-old Krishnan became the first Asian player to win the boys’ singles title at Wimbledon, beating Ashley Cooper in the final. It was an opening for me to world tennis, which led him to play the Senior Wimbledon the same year.
There are a rare few tennis players who find success in both doubles as well as mixed doubles. Then there's Leander Paes! The first and only tennis player to compete at seven Olympic games, Paes had turned professional in 1991. He shot to national recognition by reaching the quarter finals of the 1992 Olympics, partnering Ramesh Krishnan in the men’s doubles event.
One cannot deny that some very successful partnerships have helped the legend set the record of being one of the most successful doubles player in the world. And Wimbledon is no exception. So much so that he went on to win four mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon teaming up with four different partners.
Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi | Source: The Hindu
He has won Grand Slams with four different male partners, starting with the French Open and Wimbledon with Mahesh Bhupathi in 1999. More success came with Martin Damm, Lukas Dlouhy and Radek Stepanek. Of these four, Paes is most strongly linked with Bhupathi and Stepanek, but aside from the rise of Bhupathi and Paes in 1999, when they reached the finals at all four Grand Slams, it is hard to pick out a signature moment that could represent a career.
He has also had 24 partners in mixed doubles, winning Grand Slam titles with four of them – Lisa Raymond, Martina Navratilova, Cara Black and Martina Hingis - while reaching finals with two others.