In the last few decades, some eminent tennis players have achieved success in India. Popular figures like Rohan Bopanna, Sania Mirza, Mahesh Bhupati, Leander Paes, and Vijay Amritraj have come to the forefront. We examine a few Indian-born tennis players who have established themselves internationally.
Rajeev Ram, who was born in Bangalore, India, to Indian parents, developed an early interest in tennis in addition to cricket and table tennis. His initial tournament success came from taking home a total of 9 National Junior titles in various age divisions. He won the state championship, received a college scholarship in 1998 and 1999, and finished his junior year with the best performance in the country. He began his Grand Slam career by placing second in the doubles division at Wimbledon in 2002. He also received a wild card entry for the Junior US Open in 2001.
When he triumphed over his rivals in numerous doubles and singles events on July 10, 2009, he also accomplished the exceptional accomplishment of winning four professional matches in a single day. He has won the Australian Open twice and advanced to the doubles semifinals and finals at the French Open, US Open, and Wimbledon. He has collaborated with a number of athletes, including Venus Williams and Rohan Bopanna, with whom he earned the silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
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From a very young age, Laxmi Poruri’s sporting prowess was well known. She was born in Guntur, and shortly after her parents left for the US, she developed a passionate interest in the sport. Her father was an enthusiastic tennis player and sports devotee. After Laxmi Poruri defeated Monica Selles in the Orange Bowl, he was even more determined to make sure she had the best coaching possible. She competed in the US Open when she was 15 years old and later attended Stanford University for four years on a full athletic scholarship.
She rose to the top spot among American women’s tennis players and won the All-American Athlete Award four years in a row. She is the first Indian American to compete on the WTA tour, and upon college graduation, she participated in a number of tournaments before deciding to hang up her tennis racquet. Her life after retirement was very exciting. She earned an MBA from McGill University and spent a few years working on Wall Street before relocating to Texas, where she is currently employed by a law company.
Anastasia Malhotra, who was originally born in Japan to an Indian father and a Japanese mother, relocated to the UK when she was three years old, where she started her tennis career. Her first coach and trainer before she started playing professionally was her father, who was also a former professional player. Her debut was in October 2005, and in 2009, she was recruited to join the Yonex Advisory Staff. She has competed in ITF circuit tournaments, with some of her matches taking place in cities including Delhi, Darmsdat, Yeong Wol, and Hyogo. Her current position is 449, which is a career-best. She has done modeling, TV shows, and numerous sports consulting positions off the field.
Ms. Astra Sharma
Astra Sharma began playing tennis at a young age and later decided to attend Vanderbilt University to further her athletic career. She was born to a Singaporean Chinese mother and an Indian father who were both renowned athletes in their childhood. In 2017, she won the South East Conference Player of the Year award before taking home All-American Honors in the tennis doubles and singles divisions. Even at the young age of 22, she already holds a noteworthy career-high ranking of 89 in the singles category and 108 in the doubles category. She has contested in all Grand Slam competitions and claimed her maiden victory in Egypt’s ITF Circuit tour in 2015.
Her coaches have lauded her attitude and work ethic and given her high marks in the world of competitive tennis, both in the US and Australia.
Neha Uberoi, one of five sisters who all excelled in tennis, began playing the game with her sisters when she was just five years old. She was the 2003 Ivy League Rookie of the Year and left Princeton University for six years to focus only on athletics. She has placed second with her sister, Shikha Uberoi, in a number of competitions, including the Sunfeast Open and the Guangzhou Open. Her highest ranking in singles was 196 and in doubles was 107.
Neha Uberoi has also participated in ITF competitions like the Cincinnati Masters and Bank of West Classics, as well as the Australian Open, US Open, and Australian Open. She retired in 2008, finished her sociology degree at Princeton University, and then started a full-time career as a fitness blogger.