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Ramesh Krishnan | The touch artist turns 60


Ramesh Krishnan says his storied career ‘feels like it was from another lifetime’

Former Indian tennis star Ramesh Krishnan had a long and successful career, spanning 15 years on the international circuit.

He achieved a career-best world ranking of 23 in 1985 and registered wins over some of the world’s best players, including Mats Wilander, Jimmy Connors and Pat Cash.

He had a storied Davis Cup career as well, playing a crucial role in India scripting wins over top-ranked teams such as Australia and France.

Asked to look back at his journey, Ramesh, who turns 60 on Saturday, told The Hindu that his career is a distant memory.

“It feels like it was from another lifetime! I quit playing in 1993, which is 28 years ago, that’s a very faint memory,” said Ramesh, who has won eight ATP Tour singles titles.

Lucky

Ramesh considers himself lucky to have played on the tour for a decade and a half. “Very fortunate to have had all that experience, which was quite unique. When I first started on the [ATP Tour], Vijay [Amritraj] was playing actively. So it was a good learning experience for me. We also had Sashi [Menon] and Anand Amritraj. Moreover, there was a lot more interest from the Indian media, too,” he said. “Especially Nirmal Shekar of The Hindu who covered most of my matches. He was a very good friend of mine. I really miss him.”

When asked to pick his favourite ATP title, Ramesh chose the Hong Kong Open he won in 1986. “I remember the tournament very well because on three consecutive days, I played some of my best tennis. Beating Connors, Cash and Andres Gomez will remain special. And to beat Connors is always a big challenge. Once you’ve beaten him, he has made you very sharp for the subsequent matches,” said Ramesh, who made the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam thrice: Wimbledon (1986), US Open (1981 and ’87).

Special moments

According to Ramesh, India’s victories over Australia and France on their home courts in the Davis Cup will remain very special. “The two matches stand out. Beating Australia [1987 World Group semifinals] in Sydney was a significant win and beating France in Frejus [1993 World Group quarterfinals] was special,” he said.

On the Naomi Osaka issue — the Japanese player chose not to attend press conferences at the ongoing French Open for mental health reasons — Ramesh empathised with the 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam champion. “While I empathise with her, post-match press conferences are mandatory and an important part of the game. Maybe players can be granted a little extra time after matches to compose themselves before facing the press,” he said.

Like most, Ramesh is stuck indoors these days. “I watch the French Open and see an assortment of films,” he signed off.

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