With Somdev Devvarman qualifying for the French Open main draw – his second Grand Slam appearance after the 2009 US Open, let’s look at the best Grand Slam appearances by any Indian male player in any men’s professional singles Grand Slam.
He rose to prominence while at college at the University of Virginia in the USA. He is the only collegiate player to ever have made it to three consecutive NCAA Singles Championships, winning it in his junior and senior year. His nicknames include Buji,Dev & Sommy. He is best remembered by Indian tennis fans for his marathon victory over South African Rik de Voest which propelled India to the Davis Cup World Group playoffs for the first time in 11 years.
US Open, NY, U.S.A.; 2009;
Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER)
L 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 2-6
Paes is a legend among Davis Cup players for the incredible come from behind victories that he has scripted when playing for and leading the Indian Davis cup team. He also won India a bronze medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics losing to Andre Agassi in the semis.
US Open, NY, U.S.A 1997
R32 (Third Round)
Cedric Pioline (FRA)
L 6-3, 6-7, 6-1, 3-6, 4-6
Vijay Amritraj along with Borg and Connors was called the ABC of men’s tennis way back in 1974. Unfortunately his single’s career did not reach the stratospheric heights of the latter two, but he is by far the most successful Indian men’s singles professional player.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. He was ranked as high as 16 in 1980.
US Open, NY, U.S.A.; 1973
Ken Rosewall (AUS)
L 4-6, 3-6, 3-6
Wimbledon, England; 1973
Jan Kodes (CZE)
L 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 5-7
US Open, NY, U.S.A.; 1974
Ken Rosewall (AUS)
L 6-2, 3-6, 3-6, 2-6
Jimmy Connors (USA)
L 6-2, 7-5, 4-6, 3-6, 2-6
4 quarter final appearances to Vijay Amritraj.
Anand Amritraj and his brothers, Vijay Amritraj and Ashok Amritraj, were among the first Indians to play in top-flight international tour tennis. In 1976, the brothers (Anand and Vijay) were semi-finalists in the Wimbledon men’s doubles. He was part of the Indian team for 1974 Davis Cup, which advanced to the finals of the tournament and then forfeited the championship to South Africa as the Government of India decided to boycott the matches in protest against South Africa’s Apartheid policies.
US Open, NY, U.S.A.; 1974;
Syd Ball (AUS)
L 7-5, 7-5, 3-6, 2-6, 4-6
As a junior player in the late-1970s, he won the boy’s singles titles at both Wimbledon and the French Open. He went on to reach three Grand Slam quarter-finals in the 1980s, and was part of the Indian team which reached the final of the Davis Cup in 1987. He became India’s Davis Cup captain in 2007.
US Open , 1981
John McEnroe (USA)
L 7-6, 6-7, 4-6, 2-6
Wimbledon, England; 1986
Slobodan Zivojinovic (YUG)
L 2-6, 6-7, 6-4, 3-6
US Open, NY, U.S.A.; 1987
Stefan Edberg (SWE)
L 2-6, 2-6, 2-6
3 quarter final appearances to Ramesh Krishnan.
Lall played on the India Davis Cup team from 1959 until 1973. His best Grand Slam singles performance was reaching the round of 16 at the 1962 Australian Championships. In doubles, his best Slam performance was reaching the Quarterfinals at the 1962 Australian Championships and 1973 Wimbledon Championships, both times with Jaidip Mukerjea.
Wimbledon, England; 1970
Clark Graebner (USA)
L 0-6, 2-6, 1-6
Roland Garros, France; 1969;
Stan Smith (USA)
L 6-3, 3-6, 1-6, 6-4, 0-6
Ramanathan Krishnan, the father of Ramesh Krishnan, his career highlights include:
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).
US Open, NY, U.S.A.; 1968
John Newcombe (AUS)
L 4-6, 4-6, 2-6
Mahesh Bhupathi played at Wimbledon in 1997,1998 and 2000 and the US Open in 1995. He did not get past the first round in all 4 events.
Zeeshan Ali played at Wimbledon in 1989. He too did not make it past the first round.
Prakash Amritraj appeared in the 2002 US Open losing in the first round.
No Indian man or woman has ever won a professional Grand Slam in the singles category.
The best Indian singles men’s performances have been 4 quarter final appearances to Vijay Amritraj and 3 to Ramesh Krishnan.
Have a great weekend! Good luck to Somdev!
Stats source: http://www.atpworldtour.com
PS: Somdev Devvarman lost in the first round at the 2010 French Open after a grueling five setter.