Many know Japan’s Kei Nishikori became the first Asian man to enter a Grand Slam singles final in 2014 taking on Croatia’s Marin Cilic for the US Open title. However, way before Nishikori an Indian came pretty close to achieve a similar feat.
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.
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.
In 1961, Krishnan reached the semis by beating Australian legend Roy Emerson in a thrilling showdown. But he eventually lost to another prominent Australian player, Rod Laver. The sheer amount of perseverance he showed during these years is commendable. Krishnan received his highest Wimbledon seeding of no. 4 in the year 1962. Unfortunately, he suffered an ankle injury and had to leave mid-tournament.