Tennis | Vijay would have preferred Bhupathi as partner

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

Recalling the 1987 Davis Cup summit clash in Gothenburg, Vijay said, “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.”

The 66-year-old, a regular at Wimbledon for the last 50 years, applauded Raja for his choice of questions.

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

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

“Winning the fifth match against Uzbekistan [in 2008],” said Prakash, about his most memorable Davis Cup tie.

The government’s ruling in 2008, which required a player to have an Indian passport to represent the country, meant that Prakash had to be content with the professional Tour for the next few years.

When queried about taking up Davis Cup captaincy, a candid Vijay said it was “important for others to do it”.

He picked Ramesh Krishnan, who reached a career-high rank of 23 in 1985, ahead of his father Ramanathan Krishnan, and called Ramesh ‘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 and support rural talent.

In his message to aspiring players, Vijay said, “Pick the right coach and let the coach do the job.”

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