Vijay Amritraj: ‘Wimbledon has always been my No. 1 event’

India’s Vijay Amritraj, who has been associated with Wimbledon for 50 straight years, says that a year lost due to COVID-19 is very valuable to all the ranked players.

India tennis legend Vijay Amritraj has reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals twice.   -  R. Ragu

Wimbledon stands out from the other Grand Slams, thanks to its unique blend of tennis and tradition. The atmosphere is so electric and emotional that it brings the best out of every player.

India’s Vijay Amritraj, who has experienced them all for five decades, was disappointed with the cancellation this year. “It was expected, of course,” Vijay, now in USA, told this correspondent in an email interview on Sunday.

READ: Sportstar Archives: Vijay Amritraj - ‘My best year yet’

“I have been associated with Wimbledon for 50 straight years and always look forward to it with the same enthusiasm as I had in 1969,” said the player who has beaten the likes of Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe and was twice a quarterfinalist at The Championships.

“To the best, it means not having a chance to increase the wins. To the challengers, it means another lost opportunity. To the players who get in regularly, it means lost economic opportunity and points.” - Vijay Amritraj on absent tennis calendar due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Vijay said that a year lost is very valuable to all the ranked players. “To the best, it means not having a chance to increase the wins. To the challengers, it means another lost opportunity. To the players who get in regularly, it means lost economic opportunity and points.

“And to Indian players, it’s only if you can have a chance to qualify it would make a difference,” he said.

 

Catalyst for playing

He said there’s no sporting event in the world that he has been to compares to Wimbledon. “For me, along with the Davis Cup, it’s the reason that I played for so long. The greatest blessing is to have played there for so many years and also coming close to winning it.”

In 1973, Vijay entered the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Jan Kodes. He reached the quarterfinals again in 1981 but went down to Jimmy Connors after being up 2-0.

“Of course, doing TV shows for 25 plus years has been another amazing blessing,” he said. But before that, he participated as a visiting player and a senior player. “All have been an incredible experience. It has always been my No. 1 event.” he added.

ALSO READ: Halep: Being defending Wimbledon champion for two years 'rare and special'

When Vijay visited the All England Club earlier this year, he never expected The Championships to be cancelled.

“The majesty of the Club and its history gives me goosebumps every time I visit it. Can’t wait for Wimbledon 2021,” he said.

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