India boasts a rich legacy in tennis, propelled by a lineage of remarkable players who have left a remarkable mark on the sport.
Governed by the All India Tennis Association (AITA), Indian tennis has witnessed significant milestones, notably the Davis Cup Team’s success and victories over formidable opponents.
From Mohammad Ghaus in the 1930s to contemporary stars like Sania Mirza, the country has seen a progression of tennis talent.
Let’s explore the ten most famous Indian tennis players who have shaped the nation’s tennis landscape.
Below is the list Top 10 Most Famous Indian Tennis Players:
|– Former World No. 1 in doubles, Highest-ranked Indian woman in singles at World No. 27, UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador
|– Won Grand Slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles, Bronze medal in singles at the 1996 Olympics
|– Won a major tournament in 1997, Career Grand Slam in mixed doubles in 2006, Two Grand Slam titles with Leander Paes in 1999
|– Reached world No. 3 in doubles, Won the French Open mixed doubles title in 2017, Won 24 doubles titles including five at Masters 1000 level
|– Reached Wimbledon semifinals in 1960 and 1961, World No. 3 ranking
|– Won Wimbledon and French Open singles titles as a junior, Career-high ranking of World No. 23
|– Won gold in men’s singles at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, Secured gold in singles and doubles at the 2010 Asian Games, Received Arjuna Award in 2011
|– Reached Wimbledon and U.S. Open quarterfinals in 1973, Reached career-high ranking of World No. 16 in 1980
|– Became Junior World No. 1, Won the 2009 Australian Open Junior Championship, Ranked in the Top 100 in 2015
|– Top-ranked Indian player in singles and doubles since 2018, Won titles in WTA and WTA 125 tournaments in doubles, Secured gold and bronze medals at South Asian and Asian Games respectively
1. Sania Mirza:
Sania Mirza, born in 1986, is one of the most famous Indian tennis players. She was ranked No. 1 in doubles and won many women’s and mixed doubles titles.
She defeated several top players in her singles career and was the highest-ranked Indian woman, reaching No. 27 globally.
Due to a wrist injury, she shifted focus to doubles where she excelled, winning numerous titles and spending 91 weeks as world No. 1.
Sania made history in Indian tennis by achieving various milestones, such as winning a million dollars in career earnings and securing victories in major tournaments.
She retired from tennis in February 2023. Beyond sports, she received several awards and honours for her achievements and was recognized internationally, even becoming a UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia.
Sania’s impact on tennis and society made her one of the most influential people globally, as acknowledged by Time magazine.
2. Leander Paes:
Leander Paes, born in 1973, is among the famous Indian tennis players known for playing doubles. He won many Grand Slam titles in men’s and mixed doubles and holds records in Davis Cup wins.
He received several awards in India for his contributions to tennis. Paes also won a bronze medal in singles at the 1996 Olympics, making history as the first Asian to achieve this in tennis.
He participated in seven Olympic Games and holds the most Asian Games gold medals among Indian athletes. After a long and successful career, he retired from professional tennis in 2020.
3. Mahesh Bhupathi:
Mahesh Bhupathi, born in 1974, was among the most famous Indian tennis players known for doubles. He made history by winning a major tournament in 1997 and completed a career Grand Slam in mixed doubles in 2006.
His partnership with Leander Paes was highly successful, winning two Grand Slam titles in 1999 and becoming the top-ranked doubles team globally.
Bhupathi earned 12 Grand Slam titles and had a strong record in Davis Cup matches. He later became India’s non-playing Davis Cup captain in 2017. Additionally, he founded the International Premier Tennis League.
4. Rohan Bopanna:
Rohan Bopanna, born in 1980, is one of the very famous Indian tennis players known for doubles. He reached a career-high ranking of world No. 3 and was a finalist in major tournaments like the ATP World Tour Finals.
In 2017, he made history by winning the French Open mixed doubles title with Gabriela Dabrowski, becoming the fourth Indian to win a Grand Slam. Bopanna partnered with Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi from Pakistan, known as the IndoPak Express, reaching finals at events like the US Open.
He’s won 24 doubles titles, including five at Masters 1000 level. He’s represented India in Davis Cup matches since 2002 and participated in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.
Recently, he made headlines as the oldest Grand Slam men’s doubles finalist at the age of 43 in the 2023 US Open.
5. Ramanathan Krishnan:
Ramanathan Krishnan, born in 1937, is a retired famous Indian tennis players who excelled in the 1950s and 1960s.
He reached the Wimbledon semifinals in 1960 and 1961, becoming a top-ranked player at World No. 3.
Krishnan was pivotal in India’s Davis Cup successes and won 69 singles titles during his career from 1953 to 1975. He’s known for his significant contributions to tennis even after retiring as a player.
6. Ramesh Krishnan:
Ramesh Krishnan, born in 1961, is one of the former professional famous indian tennis players and coaches. He gained attention as a junior by winning singles titles at Wimbledon and the French Open in the late 1970s.
In the 1980s, he reached three Grand Slam quarterfinals and was part of the Indian Davis Cup team that reached the final in 1987.
Krishnan achieved a career-high ranking of World Number 23 in 1985. Notably, he beat the then-world No. 1, Mats Wilander, at the 1989 Australian Open.
He later became the captain of the Indian Davis Cup Team in 2007. Krishnan is the son of the renowned Indian tennis player Ramanathan Krishnan.
7. Somdev Devvarman:
Somdev Devvarman, born in 1985, is a former professional, and one of the famous Indian tennis players. He gained attention by making three consecutive finals at the NCAA, winning two of them during his time at the University of Virginia.
He had a remarkable record of 44 wins and 1 loss in the 2008 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship. His notable achievements include winning gold in men’s singles at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010 and securing both singles and doubles gold at the 2010 Asian Games in China.
Somdev received the Arjuna Award in 2011 for his contributions to tennis and was appointed as a national observer for tennis by the Indian government in 2017. Additionally, he was honoured with the Padma Shri civilian award in 2018.
8. Vijay Amritraj:
Vijay Amritraj, one of the prominent famous Indian tennis players, had a successful career on the international stage.
He competed well against legendary players like Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, and John McEnroe, beating them in matches. In 1973, he reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, facing eventual champions Jan Kodes and Ken Rosewall respectively.
In 1974, he led India to the Davis Cup final, but India withdrew from playing South Africa due to apartheid.
Amritraj reached his career-high ranking of World No. 16 in July 1980. He continued his success, reaching the Wimbledon quarterfinals again in 1981, despite losing to Jimmy Connors.
Known for his strong Davis Cup performances, he and his brother Anand formed a successful doubles team for India, achieving many accolades.
Amritraj’s achievements made him a key figure in Indian tennis during the 1970s and 1980s. He notably reached four Grand Slam quarterfinals and was a Davis Cup runner-up with his brother.
9. Yuki Bhambri:
Yuki Bhambri, born in 1992, is one of the famous Indian tennis players known for his achievements in both junior and professional tennis.
He became Junior World Number 1 and won the 2009 Australian Open Junior Championship, being the first Indian to do so.
He represents India in the Davis Cup and had sporadic wins in Challenger tournaments. In 2015, he entered the Top 100 for the first time, reaching a career-best ranking of 88 in November of that year.
Injuries caused a decline in rankings in 2016 and 2017, but he rebounded in 2018 by qualifying for the main draw at the French Open and Wimbledon. At just 26 years old, he aims to perform well in 2019.
10. Ankita Raina:
Ankita Raina, born in 1993, is one of the professional famous Indian tennis players. Since 2018, she has been ranked as the top Indian player in both singles and doubles.
Raina has won titles in doubles matches at both WTA and WTA 125 tournaments, as well as numerous titles in singles and doubles on the ITF Circuit. In April 2018, she broke into the top 200 singles rankings, making her the fifth Indian player to achieve this milestone.
Raina has secured gold medals in women’s singles and mixed doubles at the 2016 South Asian Games, and a bronze medal in singles at the 2018 Asian Games.
She is one of the only two Indian women to win a WTA Tour-level title. Representing the India Fed Cup team, Raina has a win-loss record of 30-24.
Notably, she has defeated accomplished players like Samantha Stosur, Sabine Lisicki, Sara Errani, and Barbora Strýcová in various matches.
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