Vijay Amritraj talks India's Davis Cup journey and future talent pool

Indian tennis great Vijay Amritraj recalled playing in the Davis Cup Final and picked Mahesh Bhupathi as his choice for a doubles partnership.

Purav Raja (top), hosting the Instagram chat show with Prakash Amritraj and Vijay Amritraj.   -  Special Arrangement

It was firebrand entertainment as Vijay Amritraj and his son Prakash, had a lively chat with Purav Raja on his Instagram show, Chai with Raja.

"The Swedish public and organisation was fantastic. Wish we could have spent a few hours more on court. We managed to win one set in five matches, in that Davis Cup final. It was very special, as it was the second time in my career to be in the Davis Cup final after 1974.

"We learnt a lot from that match’’, recalled Vijay about the hostility of the host on indoor clay, despite being very hospitable.

The 66-year-old Vijay, a regular in Wimbledon for the last 50 years, from being a player to commentator, applauded Purav for his choice of questions, after he had got away with a light subject.

Vijay, who reached a career best rank of 18 in 1980, did try his best to groom Prakash from the junior days, but injuries meant that the son could not crack the top 150.

On his part, Prakash said that if anything could be changed, he would have loved to listen to his gut, make his own decisions and have piece of mind with his tennis career. It was indeed hard to live up to the famous surname, and all the media attention.

"Winning the fifth match against Uzbekistan," said Prakash, about his most memorable Davis Cup match.

After the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Indian government ruling that insisted an Indian passport for a player to represent the country, meant that Prakash had to be content with the professional Tour for the next few years.

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When queried about taking Davis Cup captaincy, Vijay was candid to say that it was 'important for others to do it'. He picked Ramesh Krishnan, who had reached a career best rank of 23 in 1986, ahead of his father Ramanathan Krishnan, and called Ramesh as "The Therapist".

Between Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, Vijay opted for the latter as his doubles partner, saying that it was because he himself played the deuce court.

As the president of the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association (TNTA), Vijay said that it was important to tap rural talent and support. For the aspiring players, Vijay said, 'pick the right coach and let the coach do the job'.

Vijay, who conceded that Prakash had a better kick serve, 'by a long shot,' was also confident that Indian tennis could have a top-20 layer by 2030.

Both congratulated Purav, who has a career-best rank of 52 in doubles, for the fun show.

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