Vijay Amritraj goes down memory lane at TNSJA awards

The tennis veteran was honoured with the lifetime achievement award at the event in Chennai on Saturday.

Vijay Amritraj reminisced his career during the TNSJA Awards function in Chennai on Saturday.   -  M. Vedhan

Reminiscing about his career at the Tamil Nadu Sports Journalists' Association (TNSJA) awards function here on Saturday, Vijay Amritraj said: “I was told that when my younger brother was born my grandfather had a dream that one of us would play Wimbledon. 

"And I will never forget my first visit to Wimbledon when I had to miss dinner the previous night to save 50 pence to be able to get into the championships the following day. And I’m very proud to say that when I visit Wimbledon this year (2019), it’ll be my 50th consecutive Wimbledon (visit).”

The tennis veteran was honoured with the lifetime achievement award.

Talking about his mother, the late Margaret Amritraj, he said that once her primary concern when she was hospitalised was to know if his tennis coach had been paid his fees. He said he was receiving the award in her memory. "My entire life, what and who I am, the entire good things in me came from her," he added.

"The bad things in me, I picked up along the way," he quipped.

Read: Amritraj wins lifetime achievement award at TNSJA awards

Vijay said that when he was growing up, two questions were regularly posed. “The first: Yes, you play tennis, but what do you do for a living? And it was a tough question to answer because, of course, when we left India for the first time (for tennis abroad), we left with three-and-a-half pounds in our pockets.

“But the second question was even more difficult to answer. It was posed to me by my late grandmother who used to regularly ask me ‘why do you have to go so far to lose?’’’

He then took a dig at the Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming and batting coach Mike Hussey. The two were among the special guests at the function.

Addressing Fleming, he said: "I’m very fortunate to have played in New Zealand, the only Indian to win the New Zealand Open; in the Stanley street. I enjoyed beating the New Zealanders there. Very enjoyable."

To Hussey, he said: "Mike, one of our greatest moments playing tennis in Australia was when we were able to beat the Australia team with two Wimbledon champions — Pat Cash and John Fitzgerald. We were able to beat them in White City itself. I had to say that. I’m really sorry." 

He added: “I believe nothing else I could’ve possibly done would’ve given me a great education than the sport I’ve played. It has truly taught me more about myself than anything else.”

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