Indian Tennis has changed significantly over the decades, having players that have brought global recognition to India. Read the full article to know about the top 10 Indian tennis players in history.
Taught by his father, the great TK Ramanathan, a veteran player and coach, Krishnan made a name for himself in the junior circuit. Ranked a career-high no. 3 as an amateur, he was also the first Asian to win the boy’s singles title at Wimbledon in 1954. He also led India to the Challenge Round of the 1966 Davis Cup against Australia and to the 1974 Davis Cup against South Africa as a non-playing captain. Being the first Indian to reach the Wimbledon semi-finals twice, he was one of the first tennis players to bring great success and pride to India on a global scale.
Said to be the greatest doubles tennis player of all time, Leander Peas has been a global phenomenon. If not the greatest, he is certainly the most decorated Indian tennis player with the record for most Davis Cup wins, with 8 doubles victories and 10 mixed doubles crowns. He has also had an extensive career in the Olympics, competing in seven consecutive Olympic Games from 1992 to 2016, making him the first Indian and the only tennis player in history to do so. He was also the first Indian tennis player to win a bronze in the Olympics. With a total of 65 career titles, he retired in 2021 and is now the sports ambassador for the state of Haryana. Read More: 3 Best Tennis Games on PS4 and PS5 in 2023
Ranked a career-high no. 1 in doubles tennis, Mahesh Shrinivas Bhupathi is a famous name in the tennis fraternity. The first Indian to win the Grand Slam, he was known primarily for his strong backhand and his partnership with Leander Peas. With a total of 60 career titles, he was revered by players like Roger Federer as one of the best players of all time. He played a total of 55 matches in the Davis and won 35. His stupendous performance has made him the recipient of accolades other than trophies and he was honored with the Padma Shri award in 2001 and replaced Anand Amritraj as the non-playing Davis Cup captain.
Names like Leander Peas and Mahesh Bhupathi might miss the tongue of the common man, but when it comes to tennis, one name known to all Indians is Sania Mirza. The only female Indian tennis player to win a Grand Slam, she has a total of 47 career titles and was ranked a career-high no. 1 in doubles tennis and no. 27 in singles. She is the highest-ranked female Indian player and has been honored with accolades such as the Arjuna Award, Padma Shri, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, and Padma Bhushan. Read More: Top 10 Tennis Tournaments in the World
Rohan Bopanna is one of the young Indian players who has performed stupendously on the international tennis circuit, and he went on to earn a rating of 213 in the men’s singles rankings in 2007. That was not the end, however, just like the well-known duo of Paes and Bhupathi, he went on to taste great success in the doubles circuit, rising to a career-high ranking of no. 3 while partnering with Pakistan’s Aisam Al-Qureshi, winning four titles along the way and several other noteworthy matches. The duo was known as the IndoPak Express.
Given his outstanding success in the tennis world, Somdev Devvarman may without a doubt be regarded as one of the best young stars on the Indian tennis circuit. With a career-high ranking of 62, a gold medal from the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and two gold medals from the 2010 Asian Games, he is right up there with the best Indian tennis players.
Coming from a family of great tennis players, Krishnan has demonstrated his prowess in the tennis world on multiple occasions. Rising to the top of the junior circuit he was ranked no. 1 and won the junior crowns at Wimbledon and the French Open. He continued on to earn 8 singles victories and a career-high ranking of 23. While winning the Hong Kong Open in 1986, he defeated some of the greatest tennis legends, including Jimmy Conors, Pat Cash, and Andres Gomez. He was also a member of the elite Indian player’s group that qualified for the nation’s 1987 Davis Cup Final team. In addition to receiving the Padma Shri from the Indian government in 1998, he was named captain of the nation’s Davis Cup squad in 2007.
Vijay Amritraj ranked world no. 16 in 1980 because of his outstanding performances. In the Davis Cup, he also assisted his team in making it to the finals twice, in 1974 and 1987. In 1983, he received Padma Shri for his excellent achievements in the tennis world. For a brief time, Vijay Amritraj also tried his hand at acting. He played in the Yakov Smirnoff comedy What a Country and the NBC TV series The Last Precinct in addition to appearing as a guest star on other shows like Hart to Hart.
Another name on the list is an individual who transformed the junior circuit by dominating some of the top players in the world of tennis, Yuki Bhambri. He was formerly the junior no. 1 player and is today one of India’s greatest young stars. One of his noteworthy accomplishments is winning the Australian Open Championship in 2009; he ranks no. 83 in the world and represents India in the Davis Cup. Read More: Best Tennis Racquets in 2023
One of the most underappreciated female tennis players in Indian history, Rashmi Charavarthi was one of the rare female athletes to win many ITF women’s circuit championships. Although she wasn’t well known for her Singles performance, she went on to win some impressive matches when paired with Sania Mirza, another Indian women’s ace. She also earned four medals, including two gold ones, at the 2003 Afro-Asian Games, and her stellar performance throughout her career gave India great pride.