11 April 1937 |
|Turned pro||1953 (amateur tour)|
|Plays||Right-handed (one-handed backhand)|
|Highest ranking||No. 6 (1961, Lance Tingay)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|French Open||QF (1962)|
|Wimbledon||SF (1960, 1961)|
|US Open||3R (1957, 1959)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Wimbledon||QF (1955, 1959, 1965, 1967)|
|Davis Cup||F (1956, 1959, 1962, 1963, 1966Ch, 1968)|
|Last updated on: 11 December 2012.|
Ramanathan Krishnan (born 11 April 1937, in Madras, India) is a retired tennis player from India who was among the world's leading players in the 1950s and 1960s. He was twice a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 1960 and 1961, reaching as high as World No. 6 in Lance Tingay's amateur rankings.
Krishnan honed his skills under his father, T.K. Ramanathan. He soon made his mark on the national circuit, sweeping all the junior titles.
In 1954, he became the first Asian player to win the boy's singles title at Wimbledon, beating Ashley Cooper in the final. In 1959, Krishnan played in the men's singles competition at Wimbledon losing in the third round to Alex Olmedo. Later that year, playing for India in the Davis Cup, Krishnan defeated Australia's Rod Laver (the Wimbledon runner-up) in four sets. These performances gained Krishnan seventh seeded status at Wimbledon in 1960, he reached the semi-finals losing to the eventual champion, Neale Fraser. In 1961, Krishnan reached the Wimbledon semi-finals by beating Roy Emerson in straight sets, but lost in the semis to eventual champion Rod Laver. Krishnan received his highest seeding at Wimbledon (#4) in 1962 but had to withdraw mid-tournament due to an ankle injury.
Krishnan was a key member of the Indian team which reached the Challenge Round of the Davis Cup in 1966, whilst also reaching the Inter-Zonal final with the team on five other occasions, in 1956, 1959, 1962, 1963 and 1968. India surprised West Germany in the inter-zonal semi-finals with Krishnan beating Wilhelm Bungert (a Wimbledon finalist later that year). At Calcutta, in the semi-finals against Brazil, the two sides won two matches each and it all came down to Krishnan's match against the Brazilian champion, Tomas Koch. Koch was leading two sets to one and was up 5–2 in the fourth set when Krishnan staged one of the most memorable comebacks by winning the set 7–5 and then the match. In the final against Australia, Krishnan and Jaidip Mukerjea won the doubles rubber (against John Newcombe and Tony Roche), but Krishnan lost both singles matches (against Fred Stolle and Roy Emerson) as India were defeated 4–1. Krishnan was a regular player on the Indian Davis Cup team between 1953 and 1975, compiling a 69–28 winning record (50–19 in singles and 19–9 in doubles).
Krishnan also won the Indian national tennis title for eight years at a stretch.
Style of play
Krishnan's playing style was known as 'touch tennis'. Critics hailed Krishnan as a marvel, Lance Tingay of The Daily Telegraph described his tennis as 'pure oriental charm' while another described his style as 'Eastern magic'. More recently, Robert Philip wrote that 'each and every Krishnan rally was a thing of rare beauty'. According to veteran sports journalist C.V. Narsimhan 'His service was never a powerful weapon, he did not have any powerful groundstrokes either. He won with consistency, angled volleys, and a graceful half volley drop shot now and then'. Rafael Osuna, Nicola Pietrangeli and Krishnan's son Ramesh were some of the other notable exponents of this style emphasizing finesse.
Krishnan has written, with his son Ramesh Krishnan and Nirmal Shekar, a book titled A touch of tennis: The story of a tennis family. The book covering the achievements of three generations of tennis-playing Krishnans, was released by Penguin Books India.
Krishnan now lives in Chennai, where he manages a gas distribution agency. Ramesh Krishnan emulated his father's achievement of winning the Wimbledon junior title, and went on to become a leading Indian tennis player in the 1980s. On 25 July 2012, India's premier sports weekly for over three decades, Ramanathan Krishnan launched a new-look Sportstar, in the magazine format, at a function in Chennai.
- 1954 – Wimbledon junior champion.
- 1960 – Wimbledon – seeded seventh, reached the semi-finals (losing to eventual champion Neale Fraser).
- 1961 – Wimbledon – seeded seventh, reached the semi-finals for the second consecutive time (losing to eventual champion Rod Laver).
- 1966 – Member of the Indian team which reached the final of the Davis Cup (lost to Australia in the final).
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