Vijay Amritraj

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Vijay Amritraj
Vijay Amritraj 72.jpg
Country  India
Born (1953-12-14) 14 December 1953 (age 60)
Madras, India
Height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Turned pro 1970
Retired 1993
Plays Right-handed (one-handed backhand)
Prize money $1,331,913
Singles
Career record 391–304[1]
Career titles 16
Highest ranking No. 16 (7 July 1980)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open 2R (1984)
French Open 3R (1974)
Wimbledon QF (1973, 1981)
US Open QF (1973, 1974)
Other tournaments
WCT Finals SF (1982)
Doubles
Career record 264–218
Career titles 13
Highest ranking No. 23 (24 March 1980)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Wimbledon SF (1976)
Team competitions
Davis Cup F (1974, 1987)
Last updated on: 13 June 2012.

Vijay Amritraj (Tamil: விஜய் அம்ரித்ராஜ், born 14 December 1953) is a former Indian tennis player, sports commentator and actor.[2]

Vijay was born in Chennai, India to Maggie Dhairyam and Robert Amritraj.[3] He and his brothers, Anand Amritraj and Ashok Amritraj, were the successors of Ramanathan Krishnan in top-flight international tour tennis. They did their schooling in Don Bosco Egmore, Chennai, and later graduated from Loyola College, Chennai. In 1976, the brothers (Vijay and Anand) were semifinalists in the Wimbledon men's doubles. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1983.

Career[edit]

After playing his first grand prix event in 1970, Amritraj achieved his first significant success in singles in 1973 when he reached the quarterfinals at two Grand Slam events. At Wimbledon he lost 7–5 in the fifth set to the eventual champion Jan Kodeš and later that summer at the US Open, lost to Ken Rosewall after having beaten Rod Laver two rounds earlier.

Amritraj repeated his feat at Forest Hills in 1974 when he went out in the last eight again to Rosewall after beating a young Björn Borg in the second round. In the years that followed he reached the latter stages of numerous Grand Prix events but failed to meet with success in Grand Slam tournaments. It was not until 1981 when Amritraj again reached the quarterfinals, going out in five sets to Jimmy Connors. This match typified Amritraj's tennis. He was a natural grass-court player who liked to chip-and-charge and serve-and-volley. He could compete against the world's best but often would lose longer matches through a lack of stamina. Against Connors he was up two sets but lost the last two convincingly in a 2–6, 5–7, 6–4, 6–3, 6–2 loss. A similar Wimbledon result occurred in 1979 in the 2nd round where he looked set to defeat defending champion Borg, up two sets to one and 4–1 in the fourth set, only to lose 2–6, 6–4, 4–6, 7–6, 6–2.

Davis Cup[edit]

Amritraj was the captain of the Indian Davis Cup for much of the late 1970s and 1980s, helping India reach the finals in 1974 and 1987. It was here that he revelled as a champion and chalked memorable wins against higher ranked players. A do-or-die five set epic over Martín Jaite of Argentina was the highlight of India's run to the final in 1987.

Amritraj still plays occasionally and has entered the finals of the 2008 Wimbledon Sr. Invitation Gentlemen's Doubles, partnering Gene Mayer. They were seeded number 1. During next years Amritraj participated in Wimbledon Sr. Inviation Gentlemen's Doubles with John Fitzgerald.

Distinctions[edit]

  • He compiled a career singles win-loss record 384–296, winning 16 singles titles to go along with 13 in doubles.
  • He beat the best, including John McEnroe at his peak in 1984 (in the first round in Cincinnati).
  • He had five career wins over Jimmy Connors in their 11 matches.
  • He reached his career high ranking in singles of World No. 16 in July 1980.
  • His son Prakash Amritraj and nephew Stephen Amritraj are professional tennis players.

Acting career[edit]

Amritraj also had a brief acting career. His most notable appearance is probably as the MI6 agent Vijay in the 1983 James Bond film Octopussy. His most notable scene was a car chase with the running gag being his abilities as a tennis player.[4] He also appeared briefly in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as a starship captain.

He was also a regular character in the NBC TV series The Last Precinct and the Yakov Smirnoff comedy What a Country, as well as a guest star on various television shows such as Hart to Hart. He has since gone on to become a sports commentator, has been a judge at the Miss Universe pageant, and has developed a successful multimedia business.

Amritraj is currently the host of Dimensions with Vijay Amritraj on CNN IBN. The show is a one hour sit-down interview, on location, with icons from around the world. Guests include Michael Douglas, Cindy Crawford, Hugh Hefner, Pierce Brosnan, Donald Trump, Sharon Stone, Sugar Ray Leonard, Laffit Pincay, Andre Agassi and Stephanie Graf, Jimmy Connors, and Oscar De La Hoya. This show is rated the number one English show in all of South Asia with a viewership of well over 200 million people.

The Vijay Amritraj Foundation[edit]

On 9 February 2001 Vijay Amritraj was appointed UN Messenger of Peace. He has been a committed advocate to people in need, devoting his time to raising awareness on the issues of drugs and HIV/AIDS and in raising funds to fight the spread of AIDS worldwide.[5]

In 2006, after completing his assignment as a "United Nations Messenger of Peace", Vijay Amritraj founded "The Vijay Amritraj Foundation".[6][7] The foundation's mission is to bring hope, help and healing to the defenceless and innocent victims of disease, tragedy and circumstance in India. Driven by a firm belief that "in giving we receive", the foundation pledges to make a real difference for those who are most in need of the helping hand of humanity. After an extraordinarily successful debut in 2006, the foundation raised enough funds to immediately begin supporting various charitable organisations in India.

A Few of the Charitable Organizations Supported[edit]

Prajwala[edit]

Founders: Dr Sunitha Krishnan, Bro Jose Vetticatil
Founding Year: 1996
Location: Hyderabad, India
Mission: To prevent women and children from entering prostitution. The organisation is actively involved in second-generation prevention, rescue, rehabilitation, restoration and social reintegration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.[8]

Parikrama Humanity Foundation[edit]

Founder: Shukla Bose
Founding Year: 2003[9]
Location: Banglore, India
Mission: To create a sustainable model, a clear way for under-served children to transform their lives through top-class education and in the process be a catalyst for effecting fundamental change in the way the poor are educated and marginalised.[10]

Mitra Jyothi[edit]

Founder: Madhu Singhal
Founding Year: 1990
Location: Banglore, India
Mission: To provide education and life skills to blind women.[11][12]

Naz Foundation[edit]

Founder: Anjali Gopalan
Founding Year: 1994
Location: New Delhi, India
Mission: To raise awareness, educate and provide paediatric HIV/AIDS care.[13]

ANEW[edit]

Founders: Mr. M.K. Kumar, Ms. Lakshmi Kumar, Ms. Geetha Krishnan Kutty, Mr. M. Ramakrishnan, Ms. Treasure Henderson, Dr. M. Annalakshmi, Ms. Mini Shankar
Founding Year: 1997
Location: Chennai, India
Mission: To provide life skills and employment aid for destitute women.[14]

Noteworthy Persons Associated[edit]

The Foundation aims to have a meaningful presence in all the states of the Indian Union, and to make a positive difference in the lives of the less fortunate citizens of these states. Today, many noteworthy persons are associated with the Foundation, including World Leaders, Statesmen, Business Leaders, and Philanthropists; among them, George H. W. Bush -Former President of the United States, Reddy S.J Reddy – Chairman & CEO of Mainspectrum Mediastudios, Shashi Tharoor – Former Under Secretary General of the United Nations, General the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank – Chief of the Defence Staff of the United Kingdom during the Blair Administration.[15]

Annual Events[edit]

The foundation puts on events each year in Southern California. Past events have included golf tournaments and gala dinners. In 2008, Indian pop singer, Sonu Nigam performed at the gala dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The success of this concert led the foundation to pursue a series of concert style events that have included performance from top singers Kavita Krishnamurthy and Alanis Morissette and legendary bands such as The Beach Boys and Kool and the Gang. The foundation had also held a Tennis Event Classic the past three years, during which notable celebrities such as Matthew Perry and Kaley Cuoco have attended and played against guest tennis stars. Lindsey Davenport, Tracy Austin, Jimmy Connors, and Michael Chang are among the attendees.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Amritraj lives in California with wife Shyamala, who is Sri Lankan Tamil, and sons Prakash Amritraj and Vikram.[16][17][18]

Career finals[edit]

Singles: 25 (18–7)[edit]

Legend (Singles)
Grand Slam (0)
Tennis Masters Cup (0)
ATP Masters Series (0)
ATP Tour (12)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1. 23 July 1973 United States Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USA Clay United States Jimmy Connors 7–5, 2–6, 7–5
Runner-up 1. 20 August 1973 United States South Orange, New Jersey, USA Grass Australia Colin Dibley 4–6, 7–6, 4–6
Winner 2. 21 October 1973 India New Delhi, India Australia Mal Anderson 6–4, 5–7, 8–9, 6–3, 11–9
Runner-up 2. 27 March 1974 United States Tempe, Arizona, USA Hard United States Jimmy Connors 1–6, 2–6
Winner 3. 7 April 1974 United States Washington DC, USA Germany Karl Meiler 6–4, 6–3
Winner 4. 10 June 1974 United Kingdom Beckenham, England Grass United States Tom Gorman 6–7, 6–2, 6–4
Winner 5. 18 August 1975 United States Columbus, Ohio, USA Hard United States Robert Lutz 6–4, 7–5
Winner 6. 17 November 1975 India Calcutta, India Clay Spain Manuel Orantes 7–5, 6–3
Winner 7. 9 March 1976 United States Memphis, Tennessee, USA Carpet (i) United States Stan Smith 6–2, 0–6, 6–0
Winner 8. 16 September 1976 United States Newport, Rhode Island, USA Grass United States Brian Teacher 6–3, 4–6, 6–3, 6–1
Winner 9. 10 January 1977 New Zealand Auckland, New Zealand Grass United States Tim Wilkison 7–6, 5–7, 6–1, 6–2
Winner 10. 28 November 1977 India Bombay, India Clay United States Terry Moor 7–6, 6–4
Winner 11. 25 September 1978 Mexico Mexico City, Mexico Clay Mexico Raúl Ramírez 6–4, 6–4
Runner-up 3. 30 October 1978 West Germany Cologne, Germany Hard (i) Poland Wojtek Fibak 2–6, 1–0 ret.
Winner 12. 19 November 1979 India Bombay, India Clay Germany Peter Elter 6–1, 7–5
Runner-up 4. 19 February 1980 United States WCT Invitational, Maryland, USA Carpet (i) Sweden Björn Borg 5–7, 1–6, 3–6
Runner-up 5. 24 March 1980 Italy Milan, Italy Carpet (i) United States John McEnroe 2–6, 4–6
Winner 13. 7 July 1980 United States Newport, Rhode Island, USA Grass Zimbabwe Andrew Pattison 6–1, 5–7, 6–3
Winner 14. 17 November 1980 Thailand Bangkok, Thailand Carpet (i) United States Brian Teacher 6–3, 7–5
Runner-up 6. 9 December 1980 Canada WCT Challenge Cup, Canada Carpet (i) United States John McEnroe 1–6, 6–2, 1–6
Runner-up 7. 15 August 1983 United States Stowe, Vermont, USA Hard Australia John Fitzgerald 6–3, 2–6, 5–7
Winner 15. 14 May 1984 United States Spring, Texas, USA Hard (i) United States Leif Shiras 7–5, 4–6 7–6
Winner 16. 9 July 1984 United States Newport, Rhode Island, USA Grass United States Tim Mayotte 3–6, 6–4, 6–4
Winner 17. 16 June 1986 United Kingdom Bristol, England Grass France Henri Leconte 7–6, 1–6, 8–6
Winner 18. 15 August 1988 United States New Haven, Connecticut, USA Hard India Zeeshan Ali 6–3, 6–1

Doubles: 29 (14–15)[edit]

Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 1. 21 October 1973 India New Delhi, India India Anand Amritraj United States Jim McManus
Mexico Raúl Ramírez
2–6, 4–6
Winner 1. 16 November 1974 India Bombay, India Clay India Anand Amritraj Australia Dick Crealy
New Zealand Onny Parun
6–4, 7–6
Runner-up 2. 19 August 1974 United States South Orange, New Jersey, USA Hard India Anand Amritraj United States Brian Gottfried
Mexico Raúl Ramírez
6–7, 7–6, 6–7
Winner 2. 19 August 1974 United States Columbus, Ohio, USA Hard India Anand Amritraj United States Tom Gorman
United States Robert Lutz
Runner-up 3. 10 February 1975 Canada Toronto, Canada Carpet (i) India Anand Amritraj United States Dick Stockton
United States Erik Van Dillen
4–6, 5–7, 1–6
Runner-up 4. 10 March 1975 United States Washington DC, USA Carpet (i) India Anand Amritraj United States Mike Estep
New Zealand Russell Simpson
6–75, 3–6
Winner 3. 24 March 1975 United States Atlanta, Georgia, USA Carpet (i) India Anand Amritraj United Kingdom Mark Cox
South Africa Cliff Drysdale
6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 5. 5 August 1975 United States Louisville, Kentucky, USA Clay India Anand Amritraj Poland Wojtek Fibak
Argentina Guillermo Vilas
Winner 4. 15 September 1975 United States Los Angeles, California, USA Hard India Anand Amritraj South Africa Cliff Drysdale
United States Marty Riessen
7–6, 4–6, 6–4
Runner-up 6. 17 November 1975 India Calcutta, India Clay India Anand Amritraj Spain Juan Gisbert
Spain Manuel Orantes
6–1, 4–6, 3–6
Winner 5. 9 March 1976 United States Memphis, Tennessee, USA Carpet (i) India Anand Amritraj United States Roscoe Tanner
United States Marty Riessen
6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 7. 14 March 1977 United States St. Louis, Missouri, USA Carpet (i) United States Dick Stockton Romania Ilie Năstase
Italy Adriano Panatta
4–6, 6–3, 6–76
Runner-up 8. 21 March 1977 Netherlands Rotterdam, Netherlands Carpet (i) United States Dick Stockton Poland Wojtek Fibak
Netherlands Tom Okker
4–6, 4–6
Winner 6. 4 May 1977 United States Masters Doubles WCT, New York, USA Carpet (i) United States Dick Stockton United States Vitas Gerulaitis
Italy Adriano Panatta
7–6, 7–6, 4–6, 6–3
Winner 7. 13 June 1977 United Kingdom Queen's Club, London, England Grass India Anand Amritraj United Kingdom David Lloyd
United Kingdom John Lloyd
6–1, 6–2
Winner 8. 25 September 1978 Mexico Mexico City, Mexico Clay India Anand Amritraj United States Fred McNair
Mexico Raúl Ramírez
6–4, 7–5
Runner-up 9. 9 April 1979 Egypt Cairo, Egypt Clay India Anand Amritraj Australia Peter McNamara
Australia Paul McNamee
5–7, 4–6
Runner-up 10. 23 July 1979 United States Louisville, Kentucky Hard Mexico Raúl Ramírez United States Marty Riessen
United States Sherwood Stewart
2–6, 6–1, 1–6
Runner-up 11. 15 October 1979 Australia Sydney, Australia Hard United States Pat Dupre Australia Rod Frawley
Paraguay Francisco González
Winner 9. 10 March 1980 Netherlands Rotterdam, Netherlands Carpet (i) United States Stan Smith United States Bill Scanlon
United States Brian Teacher
6–4, 6–3
Winner 10. 17 March 1980 West Germany Frankfurt, Germany Carpet (i) United States Stan Smith Zimbabwe Andrew Pattison
United States Butch Walts
6–7, 6–2, 6–2
Runner-up 12. 3 August 1981 United States Columbus, Ohio, USA Hard India Anand Amritraj United States Bruce Manson
United States Brian Teacher
1–6, 1–6
Runner-up 13. 1 November 1982 United States Baltimore, Maryland, USA Carpet (i) Australia Fred Stolle India Anand Amritraj
United States Tony Giammalva
5–7, 2–6
Winner 11. 30 November 1982 United States Chicago, Illinois, USA Carpet (i) India Anand Amritraj United States Mike Cahill
United States Bruce Manson
3–6, 6–3, 6–3
Winner 12. 21 February 1983 Kuwait Kuwait City, Kuwait Hard Romania Ilie Năstase Australia Broderick Dyke
Australia Rod Frawley
6–3, 3–6, 6–2
Winner 13. 4 July 1983 United States Newport, Rhode Island, USA Grass Australia John Fitzgerald United States Tim Gullikson
United States Tom Gullikson
6–3, 6–4
Runner-up 14. 1 August 1983 United States Columbus, Ohio, USA Hard Australia John Fitzgerald United States Scott Davis
United States Brian Teacher
1–6, 6–4, 6–7
Runner-up 15. 29 October 1984 Sweden Stockholm, Sweden Hard Romania Ilie Năstase France Henri Leconte
Czech Republic Tomáš Šmíd
6–3, 6–7, 4–6
Winner 14. 7 July 1986 United States Newport, Rhode Island, USA Grass United States Tim Wilkison South Africa Eddie Edwards
Paraguay Francisco González
4–6, 7–5, 7–6
Anand and Vijay Amritraj 2000 Wimbledon Sr Invitation Doubles Finals

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vijay Amritraj at the Association of Tennis Professionals
  2. ^ Vijay Amritraj at the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ "At home on every turf". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 29 July 2004. 
  4. ^ http://www.mi6.co.uk/sections/allies/vijay.php3
  5. ^ Messengers Of Peace- Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
  6. ^ The Vijay Amritraj Foundation – Official web site
  7. ^ Look To The Stars
  8. ^ Prajwala
  9. ^ Shivaprasad, Madhavi (8 February 2012). "Their Akka teaches them to dream big". Chennai, India: The Hindu. 
  10. ^ Parikrama Humanity Foundation
  11. ^ Mitra Jyothi
  12. ^ Mitra Jyothi Wiki
  13. ^ Naz India
  14. ^ ANEW
  15. ^ a b The Vijay Amritraj Foundation
  16. ^ Lidz, Franz (31 March 1986). "Tennis Player Vijay Amritraj Is As Fine on Film As He Is on the Court". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  17. ^ "Honeymoon over for Amritraj". The Southeast Missourian. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  18. ^ "Amritrajs’ Big-Fat Wedding in Colombo". Fashion Scandal. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 

External links[edit]

Awards
First ATP Most Improved Player
1973
Succeeded by
Guillermo Vilas