Vijay Amritraj and his brothers, Anand Amritraj and
Ashok Amritraj, were among the first Indians to play in top-flight
international tour tennis. In 1976, the brothers (Vijay and Anand)
were semi-finalists in the Wimbledon men's doubles.
He born December in 1953, Chennai, India to Maggie
Dhairyam and Robert Amritraj. He is a former Indian tennis player,
sports commentator and actor.
After playing his first grand prix event in 1970, Amritraj achieved
his first significant success in singles in 1973 when he reached
the quarter-final stage at two Grand Slam events. At Wimbledon he
lost 5–7 in the fifth set to the eventual champion Jan Kodes
and later that summer at the U.S. Open lost to tennis great Ken
Rosewall after having beaten another legend, Rod Laver, two rounds
Amritraj repeated his feat at Forest Hills in 1974 when he went
out in the last eight again to Rosewall after beating a young Björn
Borg in the second round. In the years that followed he reached
the latter stages of numerous Grand Prix events but failed to meet
with success in the grand slams. It would not be again until 1981
when Amritraj would again proceed to the quarter-finals, going out
in five sets to Jimmy Connors. This match typified Amritraj's tennis.
He was a natural grass-court player who liked to chip-and-charge,
and serve-and-volley. He could compete against the world's best
but often would lose longer matches through a lack of stamina.
Amritraj was the captain of the Indian Davis Cup for much of the
late 1970s and 1980s, helping India reach the finals in 1974 and
1987. It was here that he revelled as a champion and chalked memorable
wins against higher ranked players. A do-or-die five set epic over
Martin Jaite of Argentina was the highlight of India's run to the
final in 1987.
- He compiled a career singles win-lose record 384-296, winning
16 singles titles to go along with 13 in doubles.
- He beat the best, including John McEnroe at his peak in 1984
(in the first round in Cincinnati).
- He had five career wins over Jimmy Connors in their 11 matches.
- He reached his career high ranking in singles of World No.
16 in July, 1980.
- Both his son Prakash Amritraj and nephew, Stephen Amritraj
are professional tennis players.
For almost two decades, Vijay Amritraj was one of
the most famous tennis players in the world, and was the top tennis
player in Asia for 14 straight years. In recent years, Vijay has
become a leading tennis commentator for Fox Sports in the US and
STAR-TV in Asia. His California-based company, First Serve Entertainment,
is one of the leading multimedia production companies that deals
with Asian-American content, and helped Disney, Turner and ESPN
enter the Indian market.
Chairman and CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment
Ashok Amritraj is one of the most successful producers
in Hollywood today, and produced the box office hit, Bringing Down
The House, starring Steve Martin and Queen Latifah. Bringing Down
The House is the first in a long line of high-quality, star-driven
features being produced by Amritraj in the upcoming year including:
Raising Helen starring Kate Hudson and John Corbett,
directed by Garry Marshall and Shop Girl starring Steve Martin,
Clare Danes and Jimmy Fallon, both to be released by The Walt Disney
Studios; additionally, Amritraj is producing Walking Tall starring
The Rock, to be released by MGM. Amritraj has grown Hyde Park Entertainment
into a cutting-edge option to the traditional Hollywood studio system
for filmmakers by making it one of the few progressive independent
companies that encompasses most elements of a full-fledged studio.
The Company is capable of developing, producing and co-financing
projects as well as handling their international sales and marketing.
Hyde Park Entertainment has a first look deal with
MGM, a second look deal with The Walt Disney Studios and a long-term
pan-European deal with the powerful European media consortium, Epsilon.
The Hyde Park
Entertainment successfully operates as a
studio partner, aiming to produce four major films per year at budgets
that range from $20 - $90 million each. Through The Walt Disney
Studios, Amritraj recently released the critically acclaimed drama/romance,
Moonlight Mile, directed by Brad Silberling, starring Academy Award
winners Dustin Hoffman, Susan Sarandon and Holly Hunter. Through
MGM, Amritraj also produced the Golden Globe nominated, Bandits,
directed by Barry Levinson starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thornton
and Cate Blanchett and Original Sin starring Angelina Jolie and
Antonio Banderas. Amritraj's film, Jeans, was selected by the Film
Federation of India as the country's sole nomination for Best Foreign
Film in the 1998 Academy Awards. The nomination earned him the title
of "Spirit of India's Man Of The Year".
Amritraj also received the "Pride Of India"
Lifetime Achievement Award. Over the last twenty years, Amritraj
has produced or executive produced over eighty films. Amritraj has
offered an interesting perspective to the Hollywood community by
coming from a unique background in professional sports. He came
to the U.S. from India to play professional tennis with Jerry Buss'
L.A. Strings, with teammates Chris Evert and Ilie Nastase, winning
a World Team Tennis Championship in 1978 and the Most Valuable Player
Award. Amritraj has played in every major tennis tournament during
his nine-year career including Wimbeldon and the U.S. Open. Part
of the Amritraj tennis dynasty, he was also a finalist at the 1974
Wimbledon Junior Tournament. He is on the Foreign Film Board of
the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, a member of the
British Academy of Film and Television Arts and is on the International
Council for the Emmy Awards.
He is just like his more famous brother Vijay. Articulate,
smart and one who is with a vision. Anand was Indian national champion
in 1974, but he achieved most of his success partnering younger
brother Vijay in doubles.
The pair reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 1976 and helped India
to the finals of the Davis Cup in 1974 and 1987.
Anand represented India in the Davis Cup for 20 years, an Indian
record, after making his debut in 1968.