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
Height1.93m (6ft. 4in.)
Turned pro1970
Retired1993
PlaysRight-handed (1-handed backhand)
Prize money$1,331,913
Singles
Career record391–304[1]
Career titles16
Highest rankingNo. 16 (7 July 1980)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open2R (1984)
French Open3R (1974)
WimbledonQF (1973, 1981)
US OpenQF (1973, 1974)
Other tournaments
WCT FinalsSF (1982)
Doubles
Career record264–218
Career titles13
Highest rankingNo. 23 (24 March 1980)
Grand Slam Doubles results
WimbledonSF (1976)
Last updated on: 13 June 2012.
 
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Vijay Amritraj
Vijay Amritraj 72.jpg
Country India
Born(1953-12-14) 14 December 1953 (age 60)
Madras, India
Height1.93m (6ft. 4in.)
Turned pro1970
Retired1993
PlaysRight-handed (1-handed backhand)
Prize money$1,331,913
Singles
Career record391–304[1]
Career titles16
Highest rankingNo. 16 (7 July 1980)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open2R (1984)
French Open3R (1974)
WimbledonQF (1973, 1981)
US OpenQF (1973, 1974)
Other tournaments
WCT FinalsSF (1982)
Doubles
Career record264–218
Career titles13
Highest rankingNo. 23 (24 March 1980)
Grand Slam Doubles results
WimbledonSF (1976)
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 among the first Indians to play 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]

Acting career[edit]

Amritaj 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. Producers of the show include Shrimun Chakraborty and Kapil Mahendra. 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 2005, 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)
OutcomeNo.DateTournamentSurfaceOpponentScore
Winner1.23 July 1973United States Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, USAClayUnited States Jimmy Connors7–5, 2–6, 7–5
Runner-up1.20 August 1973United States South Orange, New Jersey, USAGrassAustralia Colin Dibley4–6, 7–6, 4–6
Winner2.21 October 1973India New Delhi, IndiaAustralia Mal Anderson6–4, 5–7, 8–9, 6–3, 11–9
Runner-up2.27 March 1974United States Tempe, Arizona, USAHardUnited States Jimmy Connors1–6, 2–6
Winner3.7 April 1974United States Washington DC, USAGermany Karl Meiler6–4, 6–3
Winner4.10 June 1974United Kingdom Beckenham, EnglandGrassUnited States Tom Gorman6–7, 6–2, 6–4
Winner5.18 August 1975United States Columbus, Ohio, USAHardUnited States Robert Lutz6–4, 7–5
Winner6.17 November 1975India Calcutta, IndiaClaySpain Manuel Orantes7–5, 6–3
Winner7.9 March 1976United States Memphis, Tennessee, USACarpet (i)United States Stan Smith6–2, 0–6, 6–0
Winner8.16 September 1976United States Newport, Rhode Island, USAGrassUnited States Brian Teacher6–3, 4–6, 6–3, 6–1
Winner9.10 January 1977New Zealand Auckland, New ZealandGrassUnited States Tim Wilkison7–6, 5–7, 6–1, 6–2
Winner10.28 November 1977India Bombay, IndiaClayUnited States Terry Moor7–6, 6–4
Winner11.25 September 1978Mexico Mexico City, MexicoClayMexico Raúl Ramírez6–4, 6–4
Runner-up3.30 October 1978West Germany Cologne, GermanyHard (i)Poland Wojtek Fibak2–6, 1–0 ret.
Winner12.19 November 1979India Bombay, IndiaClayGermany Peter Elter6–1, 7–5
Runner-up4.19 February 1980United States WCT Invitational, Maryland, USACarpet (i)Sweden Björn Borg5–7, 1–6, 3–6
Runner-up5.24 March 1980Italy Milan, ItalyCarpet (i)United States John McEnroe2–6, 4–6
Winner13.7 July 1980United States Newport, Rhode Island, USAGrassZimbabwe Andrew Pattison6–1, 5–7, 6–3
Winner14.17 November 1980Thailand Bankok, ThailandCarpet (i)United States Brian Teacher6–3, 7–5
Runner-up6.9 December 1980Canada WCT Challenge Cup, CanadaCarpet (i)United States John McEnroe1–6, 6–2, 1–6
Runner-up7.15 August 1983United States Stowe, Vermont, USAHardAustralia John Fitzgerald6–3, 2–6, 5–7
Winner15.14 May 1984United States Spring, Texas, USAHard (i)United States Leif Shiras7–5, 4–6 7–6
Winner16.9 July 1984United States Newport, Rhode Island, USAGrassUnited States Tim Mayotte3–6, 6–4, 6–4
Winner17.16 June 1986United Kingdom Bristol, EnglandGrassFrance Henri Leconte7–6, 1–6, 8–6
Winner18.15 August 1988United States New Haven, Connecticut, USAHardIndia Zeeshan Ali6–3, 6–1

Doubles: 29 (14–15)[edit]

OutcomeNo.DateTournamentSurfacePartnerOpponents in the finalScore in the final
Runner-up1.21 October 1973India New Delhi, IndiaIndia Anand AmritrajUnited States Jim McManus
Mexico Raúl Ramírez
2–6, 4–6
Winner1.16 November 1974India Bombay, IndiaClayIndia Anand AmritrajAustralia Dick Crealy
New Zealand Onny Parun
6–4, 7–6
Runner-up2.19 August 1974United States South Orange, New Jersey, USAHardIndia Anand AmritrajUnited States Brian Gottfried
Mexico Raúl Ramírez
6–7, 7–6, 6–7
Winner2.19 August 1974United States Columbus, Ohio, USAHardIndia Anand AmritrajUnited States Tom Gorman
United States Robert Lutz
Runner-up3.10 February 1975Canada Toronto, CanadaCarpet (i)India Anand AmritrajUnited States Dick Stockton
United States Erik Van Dillen
4–6, 5–7, 1–6
Runner-up4.10 March 1975United States Washington DC, USACarpet (i)India Anand AmritrajUnited States Mike Estep
New Zealand Russell Simpson
6–75, 3–6
Winner3.24 March 1975United States Atlanta, Georgia, USACarpet (i)India Anand AmritrajUnited Kingdom Mark Cox
South Africa Cliff Drysdale
6–3, 6–2
Runner-up5.5 August 1975United States Louisville, Kentucky, USAClayIndia Anand AmritrajPoland Wojtek Fibak
Argentina Guillermo Vilas
Winner4.15 September 1975United States Los Angeles, California, USAHardIndia Anand AmritrajSouth Africa Cliff Drysdale
United States Marty Riessen
7–6, 4–6, 6–4
Runner-up6.17 November 1975India Calcutta, IndiaClayIndia Anand AmritrajSpain Juan Gisbert
Spain Manuel Orantes
6–1, 4–6, 3–6
Winner5.9 March 1976United States Memphis, Tennessee, USACarpet (i)India Anand AmritrajUnited States Roscoe Tanner
United States Marty Riessen
6–3, 6–4
Runner-up7.14 March 1977United States St. Louis, Missouri, USACarpet (i)United States Dick StocktonRomania Ilie Năstase
Italy Adriano Panatta
4–6, 6–3, 6–76
Runner-up8.21 March 1977Netherlands Rotterdam, NetherlandsCarpet (i)United States Dick StocktonPoland Wojtek Fibak
Netherlands Tom Okker
4–6, 4–6
Winner6.4 May 1977United States Masters Doubles WCT, New York, USACarpet (i)United States Dick StocktonUnited States Vitas Gerulaitis
Italy Adriano Panatta
7–6, 7–6, 4–6, 6–3
Winner7.13 June 1977United Kingdom Queen's Club, London, EnglandGrassIndia Anand AmritrajUnited Kingdom David Lloyd
United Kingdom John Lloyd
6–1, 6–2
Winner8.25 September 1978Mexico Mexico City, MexicoClayIndia Anand AmritrajUnited States Fred McNair
Mexico Raúl Ramírez
6–4, 7–5
Runner-up9.9 April 1979Egypt Cairo, EgyptClayIndia Anand AmritrajAustralia Peter McNamara
Australia Paul McNamee
5–7, 4–6
Runner-up10.23 July 1979United States Louisville, KentuckyHardMexico Raúl RamírezUnited States Marty Riessen
United States Sherwood Stewart
2–6, 6–1, 1–6
Runner-up11.15 October 1979Australia Sydney, AustraliaHardUnited States Pat DupreAustralia Rod Frawley
Paraguay Francisco González
Winner9.10 March 1980Netherlands Rotterdam, NetherlandsCarpet (i)United States Stan SmithUnited States Bill Scanlon
United States Brian Teacher
6–4, 6–3
Winner10.17 March 1980West Germany Frankfurt, GermanyCarpet (i)United States Stan SmithZimbabwe Andrew Pattison
United States Butch Walts
6–7, 6–2, 6–2
Runner-up12.3 August 1981United States Columbus, Ohio, USAHardIndia Anand AmritrajUnited States Bruce Manson
United States Brian Teacher
1–6, 1–6
Runner-up13.1 November 1982United States Baltimore, Maryland, USACarpet (i)Australia Fred StolleIndia Anand Amritraj
United States Tony Giammalva
5–7, 2–6
Winner11.30 November 1982United States Chicago, Illinois, USACarpet (i)India Anand AmritrajUnited States Mike Cahill
United States Bruce Manson
3–6, 6–3, 6–3
Winner12.21 February 1983Kuwait Kuwait City, KuwaitHardRomania Ilie NăstaseAustralia Broderick Dyke
Australia Rod Frawley
6–3, 3–6, 6–2
Winner13.4 July 1983United States Newport, Rhode Island, USAGrassAustralia John FitzgeraldUnited States Tim Gullikson
United States Tom Gullikson
6–3, 6–4
Runner-up14.1 August 1983United States Columbus, Ohio, USAHardAustralia John FitzgeraldUnited States Scott Davis
United States Brian Teacher
1–6, 6–4, 6–7
Runner-up15.29 October 1984Sweden Stockholm, SwedenHardRomania Ilie NăstaseFrance Henri Leconte
Czech Republic Tomáš Šmíd
6–3, 6–7, 4–6
Winner14.7 July 1986United States Newport, Rhode Island, USAGrassUnited States Tim WilkisonSouth Africa Eddie Edwards
Paraguay Francisco González
4–6, 7–5, 7–6
Anand and Vijay Amritraj 2000 Wimbledon Sr Invitation Doubles Finals

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Awards
FirstATP Most Improved Player
1973
Succeeded by
Guillermo Vilas