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An Engaging History Of Indian Tennis

The sport quickly caught the imagination of the colonized just as much as it had of the colonizers

The history of Indian tennis begins in the late 19th century, soon after it was established as a competitive sport in England. The sport quickly caught the imagination of the colonized just as much as it had of the colonizers. In those early years, Mohammed Sleem, the Fyzee brothers, S.M. Jacob and Ghaus Mohammed (whose genius was sadly curtailed by the Second World War) were the heroes tennis needed, claiming it for India.

After independence, a new set of players set the courts ablaze: Dilip Bose, Sumant Misra, Naresh Kumar, and the dazzling Ramanathan Krishnan, who remains one of India’s biggest icons. In the 1970s and ’80s, Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan established India as a regular on the international stage, until finally in the mid-1990s, Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi earned the country its first Grand Slam titles.

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Today, tennis is deeply entrenched in India, with players like Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza — the superstar who transformed women’s tennis in her country — being huge sporting icons and much sought after for endorsements.

Anindya Dutta’s ‘Advantage India – The Story of Indian Tennis’ (Westland) is a deeply researched and engaging account of the exhilarating journey of Indian tennis, with a special section on the doubles game and on women’s tennis in India. A must-have for every sports lover.

Indian tennis
The story of Indian Tennis. IANS

Dutta is an international banker-turned entrepreneur doing work on sports-led leadership development and has spent the past two-and-a-half decades working in major financial markets — London, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Singapore. He is deeply interested in sports history and is a sportswriter by vocation.

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His first book, ‘A Gentleman’s Game’ (2017), was followed by his widely acclaimed and bestselling account of the greatest bowling spells in the history of cricket, ‘Spell Binding Spells’ (2017). His next book, ‘We are the Invincibles’ (2019), a fascinating account of Don Bradman’s 1948 team’s tour of England also received critical acclaim.

‘Wizards: The Story of Indian Spin Bowling’ published by Westland Sport in 2019 won India’s Cricket Book of the Year Award at the Ekamra Sports Lit Fest. Besides penning books, Dutta is also a columnist for Sportstar, The Cricketer Magazine, Firstpost, Hindustan Times, ESPNcricinfo, Cricket Monthly, Cricket Soccer, Roar, and Fountain Ink. Delicately maintaining his work-write balance — entrepreneur by day and writer by night -Dutta lives in Singapore with his hugely supportive wife Anisha and canine daughter Olu. (IANS)

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