Tennis Prose



Biofile Anand Amritraj Interview

Anand and his yellow Ferrari California T.

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Former ATP pro won 12 doubles titles. His best singles ranking was 74. Best major result was 3R in Wimbledon singles in 1974 and semis in Wimbledon doubles in 1976 (with brother Vijay).

DOB: March 20, 1951 In: Madras, India

First Tennis Memory: “When I was eight years old a racquet was put in my hand. I was told to play tennis in India, which I didn’t particularly care for. But stuck with it. And got better with it. Fortunately.”

Tennis Inspirations: “Rod Laver. Ken Rosewall. All the Australian greats that were ten to fifteen years older than me.”

Greatest Career Moment: “Taking India to the Davis Cup final in 1974 (forfeited Cup to South Africa because government of India decided to boycott the final to protest apartheid policies) and again in 1987. Those were my two best efforts.”

Most Painful Moment: “Losing a couple of matches, not just one, a few matches where I had the guy on the ropes. And didn’t put them away.”

Favorite Tournament: “Wimbledon.”

Funny Tennis Memory: “Watching my brother get taken by Bobby Riggs in a match that he was playing some old guy, 30 years older than him (in Las Vegas in 1972). And told him, ‘Why don’t you give me the alleys and one serve? And we play each other for a few bucks?’ And we used to win all of the bets that we normally took. And this guy got smoked by an old, bald, short guy who played him having the alleys and Vijay had one serve. He got killed. That was funny to watch.”

Strangest Match: “Was beating McEnroe in Newport right after he got to the semis in Wimbledon. So and, of course, he wasn’t happy. And he made the point to mention it in his Newport Hall of Fame speech. And he lost to me… ‘…And I lost, it wasn’t even the one Amritraj, it wasn’t Vijay…’ I was a good grass court player in singles. It was one of his first few times on grass. So I thought I had a pretty good chance. He didn’t know me. I got him 6-3 in the third.”

Funniest Players Enountered: “Nastase. Bahrami. Henri Leconte. Quite a few funny guys. Those guys who are very entertaining. Unlike now [smiles].”

Why Do You Love Tennis: “It’s a full body workout. Now I like to play three times a week. Keeps you in good shape. It’s always enjoyable. Better than biking or running or any kind of workout.”

Best You Ever Felt On Court: “A few matches. I can’t remember exactly what they were. A few… five or six matches in my career where I was like you said, In the zone. My best wins were McEnroe, Manuel Orantes at US Open after he won here. Brian Gottfried. I had about ten top ten wins.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Chocolate.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “Being straight up, speaking your mind. Being basically…saying what you think and meaning what you say.”

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