We were all tennis fanatics in our family. My father was a good tennis player and had often claimed that he was one of the best in Kerala. During the 1930s, there was a tennis court in our little town Muvattupuzha. Most of its members were advocates and doctors. Many could not afford to play the so-called royal game as the rackets and balls were very expensive.
The Union Tennis Club Muvattupuzha had exactly 10 members and my father was one. They had two ball boys and a man to maintain the court. The small town had a lot of tennis enthusiasts even during that period who gave the club good encouragement. But soon the officers were transferred and only the advocates were left to look after the tennis court. They also lost interest in course of time and the once-glorious tennis court fell into ruin.
Nevertheless, the enthusiasm shown by our elders kept interest in tennis alive. We grew up with tournaments such as Wimbledon and the US Open. We were thrilled to read about Ramanathan Krishnan’s upset victory in Wimbledon’s first round in 1956 against former champion Jaroslov Drobny. We followed Krishnan, who went on to reach the Wimbledon semifinals twice in the sixties. Then came the era of Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan. I have personally met players like Leander Paes, Rohan Bopanna and Zeeshan Ali.
I usually watch the Dubai Open along with my son every year. I was watching the US Open with my son recently and I fully enjoyed the power tennis displayed by the likes of Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and others. I feel India can still produce world beaters like Ramanathan Krishnan and Amritraj with a little bit of more devotion and promotion from the government.