Top five Indian players with most wins at Davis Cup
The player with the most is also the most capped Indian player.
The Davis Cup has been a premier men’s international tournament since 1900. India first participated in 1927 and since then has participated regularly reaching the finals thrice in 1966, 1974, and 1987, but could not lift the title on any of these occasions.
In 1974, India had a golden opportunity of winning the title against South Africa, but due to apartheid couldn’t participate and lost without playing. In 1987, India played a tough Semi Finals against Australia in Sydney and won 3-2 coming from behind. Winning in away conditions isn’t an easy task but handling pressure went on to beat the Mighty Australians. But in the finals lost 0-5 to Sweden after having the momentum.
Presently around 142 countries are participating with India one among them. Let’s have a look at the top 5 players who have achieved the most wins for India in the Davis Cup.
5. Vijay Amritraj
Vijay led India to 2 famous Davis Cup finals in 1974 and 1987 with a win-loss record of 45-28. Of the 45 wins, 27 came from the singles and the rest 18 from the doubles partnering with his brother Anand Amritraj on most of the occasions. At the tender age of 20, he combined with brother Anand to beat Alex Metreveli and Vladimir Korotkov (13-15, 7-5, 19-17, 6-3) to reach the finals in 1974.
The Amritraj family has produced good tennis players like Prakash and Anand. Alison Riske Amritraj is ranked 29 in the WTA singles ranking.
He is currently the President of the Tamil Nadu Tennis Association instrumental in bringing the WTA Chennai open to India.
4. Premjit Lall
Lall has a win-loss record of 58-32 playing the Davis Cup from 1959 to 1973. He was part of the three musketeers gang comprising Jaideep Mukherjea, and Ramanathan Krishnan. He qualified for the finals of Wimbledon in the boy’s category in 1958 losing to Butch in the finals.
Lall had a good career almost winning a game against the then world no1 Rod Laver at Wimbledon and reaching the QFs thrice in the Grand Slam along with Jaidip Mukherjia in the doubles.
3. Jaidip Mukherjea
Jaidip Mukerjea represented India at the Davis Cup from 1960 to 1972 and was an exceptional tennis player. His win-loss record stood at 62-35, with 39 singles and 23 doubles wins. He started his Davis Cup career by winning a close encounter against Karalok of Indonesia in a 5 set encounter. Initially, he was not in the preliminary squad but came in as a replacement for Ramanathan Krishnan.
Mukerjea, along with Ramanathan Krishnan and Premjit Lall, in the initial years was responsible for carrying India to the Inter-Zone finals for three years from 1960 to 1963, and also in 1968.
His most famous victories came against Ingo Budding and German No. 1 Wilhelm Bungert in an inter-zone semifinal tie against Germany in 1966, which were against significantly tougher opposition. But in the finals where India lost 1-4, he and Krishan won the only match going down tamely without much fight.
He reached the 4th round of three major Grand Slams, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Along with this, he has also won the Asian Championship title thrice in the singles.
2. Ramanathan Krishnan
Ramanathan Krishnan is one of the most decorated singles players having won a record 50 matches, the most to date and adding 19 more wins in the doubles taking the win-loss record to 69-28. He was the first men’s player from India to progress to the semi-finals of the Wimbledon Championships in 1960.
Ramanathan represented India for 22 years the 2nd most after Leander Paes last appearing in 1975. Ramanathan’s most famous victory was in the 1959 Inter Zone finals defeating Rod Laver from Australia in 4 sets. Another famous victory was in 1966 when India defeated Brazil 3-2. In the deciding tie, Krishnan defeated Thomas Koch WR 12 after trailing 1-2.
Ramesh Krishnan son of Ramanathan Krishnan was also an important member of the Davis Cup squad in the late 1970s.
1. Leander Paes
Paes is the most capped Indian player playing for a span of 30 years starting from 1990 as a 16-year-old. He has a win-loss record of 93-35 with the most number of wins. He played his first match partnering with Zeeshan Ali who is the present coach of the Indian Davis Cup team.
Partnering with Mahesh Bhupathi the pair lost only 2 matches out of the 27 matches played together forming one of the most formidable pairs in Indian history. In 1997, India played Chile to retain their place in the 16-team World Group field. India played all 5 matches featuring Paes and Bhupathi going on to win the tie 3-2.
Leander’s most formidable win was against Goran Ivanisevic when Leander was ranked 123 in the ATP singles ranking beating Goran in 5 sets to set up a huge upset. In his earlier days, Paes was an excellent singles player but was highly underrated.
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